Exposed: A History of Lingerie
Fashion & Textile History Gallery
June 3 – November 15, 2014
Visit the online exhibition
As the final barrier to the nude body, lingerie is simultaneously modest and erotic—and it remains a subject of enduring fascination. The design of lingerie enhances its allure: it strategically reveals, conceals, and highlights the wearer’s form. As French lingerie designer Chantal Thomass observed, “The essence and attitude of lingerie is all in suggestion.”
|Iris nightgown, printed nylon, c. 1950, USA, gift of Mrs. A. S. Guimares, 75.183.80.||
||Claire McCardell evening dress, printed nylon, 1950, USA, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Adrian McCardell, 72.61.182.||
The concept of underwear-as-outerwear is most commonly associated with the 1980s, but the look of lingerie has long served as inspiration for fashion garments. Exposed opens with several pairings of objects that underscore that connection. A nylon nightgown by lingerie label Iris is shown alongside an evening gown by Claire McCardell, created in a similar fabric and silhouette. Both date from the 1950s.
|Corset (stay), silk, silk ribbon, whalebone, c. 1770, possibly Europe, Museum purchase, P82.1.16.||Peignoir (morning robe), embroidered wool, c. 1878, USA, gift of Florence Anderson and Mary A. Seymour, 80.1.5.||Saks Fifth Avenue camiknickers, crepe chiffon, silk satin, c. 1924, France, Museum purchase, P86.63.5.|
|Poirette overwire bra, nylon lace, stretch satin, 1949, USA, gift of Bestform Inc., 2000.89.15 / Christian Dior petticoat, nylon net, horsehair net, silk taffeta, 1951, France, gift of Despina Messinesi, 75.86.5B.||Lady Marlene bustier, lace, jersey, satin, boning, c. 1988, USA, gift of Ady Gluck-Frankel, 93.159.65.
||Suki Cohen (Sarah Cohen) bodysuit and bolero jacket, stretch nylon, neoprene, 2014, Columbia, gift of Suki Cohen, 2014.11.1 & 2014.11.2.
Exposed: A History of Lingerie is organized by Colleen Hill, associate curator The Museum at FIT. A book to accompany the exhibition will be available in fall 2014 from Yale University Press, and will feature over 70 full-color photos of objects featured in the exhibition.
For more specifics about the exhibition, read the press release.