The business was started by Frederick Mellinger (inventor of the push-up bra) in 1947. The original flagship store was a landmark on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California. In September 2005, after 59 years, the store moved to a larger space a few blocks away, near the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue.
Here, in addition to the selection of bras and panties, there are corsets, including their famous "Hollywood Dream" corset, bedroom slippers, a vast array of hosiery, bridal lingerie, special occasion lingerie, and even more high-end seduction pieces. The store no longer houses The Lingerie Museum featuring The Celebrity Lingerie Hall of Fame, which exhibited a collection of underwear worn by Hollywood movie stars, such as one of Madonna's pointy-breasted corsets. However, this flagship Hollywood store does display corsets and bras designed by celebrities for charity.
Until the 1980s, the market leader was Frederick's of Hollywood which was then overtaken by Victoria's Secret
In 1992, Frederick's lingerie museum drew national media attention when it was looted during the Los Angeles riots. One repentant looter delivered a bag of pilfered celebrity lingerie, including Ava Gardner's and a push-up bra once worn by TV actress Katey Sagal, to the pastor at nearby Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, Hollywood. An Austin newspaper noted that Blessed Sacrament's pastor "may be the only priest in America to ever comfort a man who felt guilty about stealing celebrity bloomers." In an article titled "Support Is Generous for Bra Museum", the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted that such an "uplifting story could only happen in Hollywood."
The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2001. In 2003, it emerged from bankruptcy and was headquartered in Los Angeles. In 2006, it merged with New York City sleepwear manufacturer Movie Star and the headquarters was moved to New York. In 2008, the company changed its name to Frederick's of Hollywood Group Inc. The company was traded on the American Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol FOHL, but in May 2014, the company was taken private by Harbinger Group and other investors. Its headquarters remain in New York City.
In 2015, the company closed its stores and again filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Its brand and online operations were acquired by Authentic Brands Group.