FIT’s Exposed: A History of Lingerie

Exposed: A History of Lingerie is organized by Colleen Hill. The exhibition is on view in the Fashion and Textile History Gallery at The Museum at FIT until November 15th, 2014.

FIT Lingerie

The Exposed: A History of Lingerie exhibit holds a stunning collection of intimates. It features a diverse range of garments, sharing pieces of both Eastern and Western fashion history. From hard lingerie such as corsets, bustles, and structured bras to soft lingerie like unstructured slips, nightgowns, and panties, the exhibit has something of interest for every lingerie lover.

The chronology begins with a corset from 1770, extends through the Renaissance, and includes modern garments from brands we know and love. Lingerie-inspired fashion is crucial to all of fashion history. Corsets alone were essential to women’s fashion for over 400 years. They represented valued social traits such as class and discipline.

Nightgowns from around the world and throughout the ages brought elegance to every corner of the exhibit. The flowing layers of fabric, draping ribbons, jeweled cuffs, delicate frills, lace detailing, and other embellishments shared many of fashion’s feminine expressions. Garments were white until the 1880s, when dye became widespread.

Pieces from the 20th century and beyond were colorful and practical, changing to meet the demands of fashion. Stockings and hosiery came into fashion in the 1960s with the rise of miniskirts and exposed legs. In 1978, Vogue announced the start of “lingerie fever” as intimate apparel became a hot topic in fashion and the media. In the ’90s, push-up bras gained popularity, bringing the Wonderbra skyrocketing sales since its birth in 1961.

The exhibit’s modern pieces revealed just how much lingerie has changed. Victoria’s Secret garments from the ’90s shared a more mature aesthetic from the past of today’s lingerie giant. The fierce Agent Provocateur sets, colorful Hanky Panky thongs, and artfully structured Suki Cohen pieces illustrated how diverse intimate apparel has become. The beautiful collection of lingerie from throughout the ages left us eager to see what the future holds. What better way to strengthen the future of our industry than to support the creative students who will soon shape it?

See the exhibit for yourself before November 15th!

There’s a slideshow and description on FIT’s website.

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