• de Paolis Umberto Independent Researcher




women’s entrepreneurship, socio-economic affirmation, empowerment, women inventors, women designers, equal marriage


This original research focuses upon the story of Teresina Negri (1879-1974), a woman, dancer, entrepreneur and fashion designer who was able to combine inventiveness and entrepreneurial skills to achieve socio-economic affirmation. The research methodology is divided into three phases: the first consists of an acknowledgement of the documentary, bibliographic and iconographic sources related to the case study found in archives, libraries and both private and family collections in France, Italy, UK and Monaco. Next, the data obtained is structured into a narrative highlighting the various personality traits of the subject. The third phase concludes the summation of this study. Born in Italy, at sixteen years old, Teresina ran away from home to devote herself to dance. In this way she was able to gain an independence that would not have been possible for a young woman in late 19th-century Italian society. She took charge of her life, never afraid to reinvent herself and possessing the audacity to turn difficulties into opportunities. She performed for a Lumière Brothers film and then became a successful dance étoile in Belle Époque Paris. In 1920 she became a fashion designer under the pseudonym Madame GRISINA; the invisible bra she invented and patented quickly spread across international fashion, anticipating modern styles and modes of use. Negri was a business executive, she never took second place to anyone; in both public and private life she enacted the tenets of emancipation and continuously sought recognition of her rights, demanding a premarital contract based on principles of social equality. She was also a family woman: while not seeking personal fulfillment in motherhood, she cared for her sister and for her nephews as if they were her own children, providing them with the opportunity for a better life. The discovery and research about the historical figure of Teresina Negri thus offer an original contribution to the role of women in design and business, as well as being emblematic of a spirit of female emancipation and creative fervor that over almost a century stands as a unicum in women’s history.


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How to Cite

Umberto, de P. (2023). TERESINA NEGRI: A SUCCESS STORY OF WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP BETWEEN THE 19th AND 20th CENTURIES. Proceedings of the World Conference on Women’s Studies, 8(1), 42–50. https://doi.org/10.17501/24246743.2023.8103