Underpants As… Art? London V&A Museum thinks so.
You’ll never look at your humble Bonds the same way again after hearing that underpants have been elevated to the status of objet d’art by the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design.
London’s V&A – that is, the Victoria and Albert Museum – is next week opening a 250-piece collection of undies called Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear.
The show, which features examples of undergarments from the 1750s to the present day, is intended to showcase the key, er, supporting role undies have played in the evolution of fashion.
“It explores the intimate relationship between underwear and fashion and its role in moulding the body to a fashionable ideal,” reads the V&A’s catalogue description. “Underwear is sometimes controversial, sparking debates about health and hygiene, body image and stereotyping. Its cut, fit, fabric and decoration reflect changing attitudes to gender, sex and morality; shifting notions of public and private; and innovations in fabric technology and design.”
About 80 per cent of the exhibits are designs for women, including a Swarovski crystal-decorated corset that was worn by Dita von Teese and an Ellie Saab lingerie dress once draped over the spunky form of Mila Kunis. As for men’s underwear, well, there are all sorts of Y-fronts and boxers, along with a 1978 “party thong” and highly modern sculpted briefs. The most famous gentleman’s underclothing? A vest worn by George Bernard Shaw.
Undressed: A Brief History Of Underwear opens April 16 and runs until March 12, 2017.