Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear

© Victoria and Albert Museum

When we heard about the ‘Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear’ exhibition at the V&A, we just knew we had to plan an office trip to London. It tells the story of underwear design and development right from the 18th century to present day, and it did not disappoint.

Running until March 2017, it’s so much more than just a lingerie show; it’s a reminder of the complex nature and history of something we take for granted every day, and made us fall even more in love with lingerie and nightwear (something we didn’t think was possible!).

Advertising poster designed by Hans Schleger for the Charnaux Patent Corset Co. Ltd, about 1936

Advertising poster designed by Hans Schleger for the Charnaux Patent Corset Co. Ltd, about 1936. © Victoria and Albert Museum

It addresses the intimate relationship between underwear and fashion and its role in moulding the body to a fashionable ideal, with cut, fabric and decoration revealing issues of gender, sex and morality – did you know the thong was created as a reaction to LA’s ban on nude public swimming in the 1970’s?!

We were also happy to see that our area of expertise is also covered; the exhibition addresses how underwear influenced outerwear, and how nightwear developed to include loungewear and other fabulous garments such as corsets and slips, challenging convention at the time and further exploring the dynamic relationship between body and clothing, something very important to us here at Betty Blue’s. All our designs are cut for the best possible shape, and it was so interesting to see how that’s changed over time.

Corset, cotton, whalebone, about 1890

Cotton corset lined with whalebone, about 1890. © Victoria and Albert Museum

This fascinating and thought provoking story is told through over 200 objects, including designs by Stella McCartney, La Perla, Rigby & Peller and Paul Smith. Garments designed for men and women are displayed alongside advertising material, fashion plates, photographs and films to bring new insights into the most personal and often most intricate garments in our wardrobe.

Have you been to Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear, or any other exhibitions you think are worth a visit? Let us know what you thought in the comments below or tweet us at @BBLoungewear.


© Victoria and Albert Museum

Lots of Love
Betty and Team Blues xxx

All images © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.