Thursday, 14 April 2016 08:46

Exhibition Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear

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18th century men's underwearUndressed: A Brief History of Underwear at the Victoria & Albert Museum displays more than 200 examples of men’s and women’s underwear from about 1750 to the present day. 

Left - An example of 18th century men's underclothes. I'm guessing this just feel off, eventually!

In particular, it investigates how underwear design combines the practical and personal with the sensory and fashionable, in the process both protecting and enhancing the body. 

michelangelo david fig leaf

Right - Not so much underwear, but Michelangelo's David's Victorian modesty leaf

TheChicGeek says, “Situated in the centre of the V&A’s fashion room, this exhibition starts with a room explaining the different constructs and changes in time of men’s and women’s undergarments up to the present day. Ultimately, underwear is there for support and keeping your clothes clean. Sexuality and feeling attractive does play a part, but this room is a clinical look at the architecture of underwear. Men’s examples included 18th century underclothes, underwear in those days meant anything worn next to the skin, Jockey Y-Fronts from the 1950s and Aussiebum's bulge enhancing pants.

jockey y-front undressed victoria albert museumLeft - 1950s Jockey Y-Fronts & David Beckham for H&M

"Upstairs there was a loose idea of connecting fashion to underwear. What resulted was a disjointed collection of random items including loungewear and corseted outerwear. While nice, it didn’t really pick out the key points or moments in fashion that involved underwear or underwear gravitating into outerwear. Where was the famous Jean Paul Gaultier conical bodice of the late 80s or the 90s Dolce & Gabbana dresses with the bra straps? The exhibition needs a little more sex, there was no Bruce Weber for Calvin Klein images from the 1980s which pioneered the objection of men or the hyper-sexual male images that we’ve seen over the last two decades from the likes of Tom Ford or DSquared. While the underwear is here, the body that goes into them seems to have been forgotten and the two definitely go together."

Until 12th March 2017

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