A BRIEF HISTORY OF UNDERWEAR

Undressed. An exhibition exploring the intimate relationship between underwear and fashion. Its role in moulding the body to a fashionable ideal, with cut, fit, fabric and decoration reveals issues of gender, sex and morality.

When I open my eyes, I want to travel to London and find myself at the Victoria & Albert Museum in an exhibition about how to adorn our bodies and even manipulate their body shape. A short evening dress designed by Cristobal Balenciaga in 1958, an ensemble by Dolce&Gabbana, a «Colette» corset by Christian Dior and Paul Poiret who fought a battle for the real curves like a true rebel of fashion, are the main protagonists. At this exhibition entitled “Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear“, we’ll also meet unknown designers from the 30s and even 1890. Museum pieces. Satin and elastic corselettes. Everything we want to know about camisoles and corsets, girdles and garters. There are more than 250 pieces sought after by both men and women, next to photographs and movies, advertisements and original packaging, since 1750 to the present day.

We must never underestimate things we use in our everyday lives – or those we save in boxes for special occasions, for that matter. Technological innovations, design experimentation, and experienced presentation are all necessary for the process of creating a bra or piece of underwear generally accepted as “ordinary”. Above all, let’s not forget that there is always a hidden story behind a work of art. With or without lace. Or whale-bone.

Info
Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear.
16 April 2016-12March 2017, Victoria and Albert Museum.

CREDITS

Words:
Sandy Tsantaki

Photos:
Agent Provocateur / sponsor of the exhibition