The First Lady of Underfashions
Christina Erteszek introduces this memoir with the revelation that her dying father wanted her to write his unfinished book which would have contained his life story, his thoughts on the Soviet Empire, and on business leadership. The result is a memoir that is three books in one. The first third relates how Olga and Jan Erteszek managed to escape from Poland and Russia as World War II engulfed Europe. Once in the U.S., they managed to start a lingerie company from practically nothing by seeing a need for comfortable garter belts. Olga and Jan are complex individuals, deeply connected to each other and to the company. The story is enlivened by excerpts from their own memoirs and letters. The second part describes how the company expanded its line of garments and changing with the times as women rejected constricting girdles and embraced sports bras. Christina, their youngest daughter, joins Olga and becomes a designer in her own right. The final third is the most disjointed, galloping over her parents’ deaths, a corporate takeover hints at unrevealed secrets, and includes a long letter from her father’s one remaining boyhood friend, who has his own memories to share.
This memoir would have benefited from strong editing, as well as captions for the photos to identify their subjects. Although portions were compelling, they needed a clearer arc and some judicious cutting.
|American True Stories
|Buy this Book
|Biographies & Memoirs