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UNDRESSED: A BRIEF HISTORY OF UNDERWEAR

The new V&A exhibition is a fascinating and thought provoking story of underwear design from the 18th century to the present day, told through over 200 objects.

Addressing "the practicalities of underwear and its role in the fashionable wardrobe while highlighting its sensual, sexual appeal," the exhibition will "explore dress reformers and designers such as Paul Poiret, who argued for the beauty of the natural body, as well as entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators who have played a critical role in the development of increasingly more effective and comfortable underwear".

The show, curated by Edwina Ehrman of the V&A textiles department, features famously exposed underwear, such as Vivienne Westwood’s fig leaf embroidered tights and David Beckham’s H&M pants. There is also a completely sheer, silver dress by Liza Bruce worn by Kate Moss in 1993, and a dress worn by Gwyneth Paltrow in 2009, designed by Antonio Berardi, which evoked the look of a corset while revealing her actual underwear.

In addition to the undergarments designed for men and women, there will be over 140 examples, photographs, films, advertisements and packaging on display, bringing new insights into the most personal attires in our wardrobe and highlighting the changing concepts of the ideal body.

Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
16 April 2016 – 12 March 2017