From Elaine’s Lumière column for T Magazine’s The Moment.
From left: PiL; Didier Truffaut/Armor LuxLocal politicians are pushing to keep brands in France, such as J.M. Weston moccasins, Armor Lux shirts and Repetto flats.
When Lejaby Lingerie, the 82-year-old French bra-and-corset maker, announced last year that it was shuttering its fourth and only remaining factory in France and heading to Tunisia, it represented more than just another blow for French industry. It also provided one of the most unexpected symbols of the French presidential campaign: the bra.
Lingerie has a special place in French society. The Ipsos polling agency found in a survey several years ago that 91 percent of French women and 83 percent of French men believe that lingerie is important in life.
And the Lejaby brand is so embedded in the French psyche that François Truffaut evoked the bra maker in his 1977 film, “The Man Who Loved Women.” Bertrand, the film’s Casanova, was able to describe to a telephone operator he had never met the exact model of bra she was wearing that day: “Ah yes, I know it,” he told her. “Lejaby. It fastens in the back, with adjustable straps and a plastic hook in the shape of a double S.”
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