The Victoria and Albert Museum have today released more details of its forthcoming exhibition Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear, open from the 16th April 2016 to the 12th March 2017. 

Corset_1890-1895_c_Victoria_and_Albert_Museum_London
Silk satin, lace and whalebone corset. Credit: Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

For this new display, the V&A will examine the history of underwear from 18th century to the present day, considering the practical and personal, the sensory and the fashionable as well as underwear’s role of protecting and enhancing the body.

The exhibition will display more than 200 items of underwear for men and women, highlighting themes of innovation and luxury. It will uncover the relationship between underwear, fashion and the notions of the ideal body.

Examples of items on display will include corsets, crinolines, boxer shorts, bras, hosiery and lingerie, to reveal the importance of underwear and how it has changed and developed over the years. Highlights will include long cotton drawers worn by Queen Victoria’s mother, an 1842 man’s waist belt used on the wearer’s wedding day and  a 1960s Mary Quant body stocking.

But it is not only the fashionable underwear that will be displayed. The practical and functional side to underwear is also assessed in the exhibition – showing how the types of material used and the design can be changed to suit different people’s needs.

Tickets for the exhibition will go on sale in February and admission will cost £12 with concessions available. Members of the Victoria and Albert Museum go free.

Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear will open at the Victoria and Albert Museum from the 16th April 2016 and will be on display until the 12th March 2017. 

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