Victoria & Albert Museum

An upcoming exhibit at the iconic museum will examine the societal implications of undergarments.

November 22, 2015

Your Juicy Couture sweat suit will be right at home at the Victoria & Albert Museum’s new exhibit, titled “Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear.”

The show, which opens April 16, 2016 and will run through March 2017, will “tell the story of underwear design from the 18th century to the present day.” While the "story of underwear," could just be a display of underpinning sure to make a nine-year old boy blush, the show will take a deeper look at the cultural and societal implications of undergarments and what they say about gender mores, sexuality, morality, and beauty ideals.

Those Juicy Couture sweat pants are an example of the evolution of underwear and pajamas from house wear to an ensemble fit for a P.T.A. meeting. According to Dazed, other examples include a corset made from paper under the austerity measures of World War One and gender-neutral briefs by Acne.

 Victoria & Albert Museum

While you may be embarrassed by having once gone outside in those infamous sweat pants with the word “Juicy” emblazoned on your backside, at least you’re not Queen Victoria’s mother, whose “long cotton” underthings will be on display for all to see. It’s not just women’s under clothing on display, either. There are examples of the first-ever Y-front briefs and a look at the history of Calvin Klein boxers.

These items will sit in the London museum alongside a sheer Liza Bruce dress worn by Kate Moss, undergarments of a typical 18th century working-class woman, corsets from all eras, cage crinolines, and iconic underwear designs by the likes of Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, Elsa Schiaparelli, Elie Saab, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Vivienne Westwood.

For more on things to do in London, check out T+L's Guide to London.

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