The History of Triumph International


The famous Triumph 'Doreen'


Triumph holds a special place in the history of European, particularly German, corsetry. Successful for decades, its range varied from the most elegant guipures, to that formidable back-laced corselette, the 'Brilliant K',  beloved of the Bavarian Haus-frau. 


That they are still highly successful is a tribute to their response to market needs whilst maintaining tradition. In my opinion they made one of the world's best brassieres, the 'Triumph Doreen' (left)


The 'Doreen' model was also applied to a firm-control pantie-girdle. Thousands of German women in the 1960s and 70s wore 'Doreen' combinations. Their advertisements (right) look rather more formidable than the reality and they remind me of a comment from Doreen Caldwell in her excellent book 'And All Was Revealed' (1981): "It was curious that girls who appeared to us all as fearless Dianas, even Amazons, should have crushed themselves into such constricting garments"


Triumph is the secret of my good figure (I'm not surprising with the amount of elastic on display - far right).


The 'Doreen' brassiere is still sold today in its traditional short, long and cuff-length versions, and, despite my affection for the made-to-measure products from Spirella, I have to admit that the Doreen is my favourite brassiere.






Perhaps I have dwelt too much on the heavier aspect of mature German womanhood. There were (and are) some stunning German women of all ages, as the following pictures from the history of Triumph show. The 1960's in Germany is beautifully illustrated by these young German models who show Triumph's guipures and brassieres to their best advantage.

A stunning Triumph corselette from 1964


Triumph, apart from producing some excellent and elegant advertisements and brochures, also ran a series of television commercials showing some of their earlier girdles.


The model on the left may appear to resent the close inspection of Herr Doktor Triumph and Irma Bunt, however, there is no doubting that the end product is very successful and elegant. ("What a wonderful job to have" my husband added. "You'd get bored with it" I retorted, but he had that dangerous male look in his eye!)


The advert below is a classic example of what lies beneath. Translating the German title to this happy picture of Teutonic domesticity goes "Whenever it matters." Every character is described from the 7 year-old daughter, the 14-year-old son, the 37-year-old husband, 38-year-old wife 'Lilo', the 65-year-old granny and grandfather of indeterminate age. It seems that the family loves sweet things and to allay the inevitable consequences of a sugar-rich diet, Triumph has developed a corselette: "The bust is well divided, the belly really flattened by refined reinforcements. Waist and hips are elegantly modelled and specially shaped from the butt to the hips." Everybody agrees that Lilo looks smashing and Lilo knows that her corselette is necessary for these special occasions. The little girl asks when she will be allowed to eat lots of cake and the implicit answer is when she is old enough to wear a Triumph corselette. No doubt Granny could consume any amount of cake without change to her figure; German grannies of the 1960s wore corsets of cake-defying fortitude. The teenage son looks bored; perhaps his mother always comes to the table in her underwear. There's plenty of subtlety going on in the script, but my German simply is not up to the task. One can, of course, put one's own interpretation on the scene.

What is apparent is that there is no trick photography or cunning editing going on here. They simply shot the scene twice; once with mother clothed and once in the corselette.

There was an interesting series of advertisements aimed at Triumph's Distinction model, an attempt to source the best materials and move the product up-market. Apparently, you would make your peers homicidally envious.

For decades, Triumph was the mainstay of German mail order catalogues' foundation garments pages.


The History of Triumph International


Note a small entry in 1969, when Triumph acquires the House of Jenyns.