This exhibition tells the story of underwear design from the 18th century to the present day. It explores the intimate relationship between underwear and fashion and its role in moulding the body to a fashionable ideal. 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.
Underclothes have also influenced outer wear. Nightwear has morphed into lounge wear and garments such as corsets, crinolines and slips have been recast by fashion designers to challenge convention and explore the dynamic relationship between body and clothing.
This fascinating and thought provoking story is told through over 200 objects. Garments designed for men and women are displayed alongside advertising material, fashion plates, photographs and films to bring new insights into the most personal garments in our wardrobe.