The “Undressed” exhibit in the Victoria and Albert Museum displayed the “evolution of underwear design from the 18th-century to the present day.” The museum presented a variety of fashion pieces from luxury to lounge wear. The clothing and undergarments were displayed like artwork, with the human body as a canvas. It was alarming to see the lengths women would go to exert their sexuality. One corset on display was said to have a 38cm waist. Additionally, I was shocked by the various types of corsets; from “tennis corsets” to summer corsets to evening wear corsets. Walking through the exhibition one could easily recognize how fashion tends to repeat itself. Some of the older pieces looked similar to underwear made today. For example, the high waist underwear style has become a popular vintage look. Many women today wear it as swimwear.
One piece I particularly loved was the pastel purple “babydoll slip” by Carine Gilson. Gilson is famous for making couture lingerie. Her work is beautifully intricate and timeless. She states in an interview that she designs her pieces for a very feminine and modern woman. She graduated from Antwerp Academy in Belgium. Today her garments are created in her workshop in Brussel. She expressed she only works with Chantilly lace because it is the finest lace. She also expresses her believe that real luxury is when pieces are unique and made by hand. I agree with Gilson, it is obvious to the viewer that her garments are not mass produced, they are carefully made by hand with every detail kept in mind.
The museum did an amazing job displaying the pieces. It is clear that underwear plays a major role in fashion. Walking around the exhibit was an amazing experience that gave me a new appreciate for fashion and design. The craftsmanship and creativity put in each piece did not go unnoticed.