What's On



Press Releases

Undercover - the evolution of underwear

30 March 2009

12th June – 27 September 2009

The Fashion and Textile Museum is pleased to announce the first glimpse into its next stunning exhibition open from 12th June 2009. From the first ever patented bra in 1915 to the most modern underwear developments of anti-cellulite knickers and a bust-firming bra – these are just some of the fascinating garments that will be on display.

For centuries women’s bodies have been shaped, enhanced and even controlled by underwear, a means to obtaining the desired fashionable figure. While bras are an everyday functional garment, unlike most other items of clothing they can take on an emotive, titillating or even scandalous nature.

The Undercover exhibition will trace the evolution of underwear, from health garment, shape definer to fashion ‘must have’. It will also explore a number of themes such as boudoir to everyday glamour, ‘Stars and their bras’ looking at celebrity branding, how research and innovation has changed the way we wear our underwear and how the changing face of underwear advertising and marketing has been interwoven with social, cultural and economic changes.

The exhibition presents a visual demonstration of how female underwear has evolved as women’s role in society changed and encompasses the changing trends from the ‘flatten it’ to the ‘push it up’ to the ‘let it all hang out’! Curator Alison McCann is collating the most exquisite pieces from a wide range of private and public collections that read like the Who’s Who of underwear; M&S, Triumph, La Perla, Christian Dior, Elle MacPherson Intimates, Myla and Wonderbra to name just a few.

From the risqué to the radical, pieces include the first Merry Widow inspired by Lana Turner in the film of the same name; renowned burlesque artiste Immodesty Blaize’s corset; dress made from bras and briefs by designers Vin & Omi and a Swarovski crystal-encrusted bra.

The aesthetic of the exhibition, with visually dramatic and inspiring installations, will entice the visitor into the intimate femininity of the boudoir, with sumptuous displays of vintage providing a plush luxurious feel. Captivating shapes and styles will then guide visitors through different eras of underwear culminating into the white, futuristic space to view the innovative fabric and technological design yet to come.

Notes to editors: 

Further information, images, interviews and exclusive features on the different elements of the Undercover Exhibition are available

The exhibition is hosted by the Fashion and Textile Museum

The exhibition runs from Friday 12th June until Sunday 27th September 2009. Exhibition opening times are 11.00am-6.00pm Wednesday to Sunday. Last admission 5.15pm

Ticket prices are £6.50 for adults, £4 for students and concessions, free entry for under 12s
For further information about the FTM and its activities visit www.ftmlondon.org

Further information, images, interviews and exclusive features about the Fashion and Textile Museum please contact:

Alison Lowe – Press Officer

Felicities Ltd representing the Fashion and Textile Museum

Visit us

Map and Directions

Mailing List