On Sunday July 12, 2015, at 10am, the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney’s inner city suburb of Ultimo is showcasing its exhibition “Undressed: 350 Years of Underwear in Fashion”. This exhibition was organised by London’s famous Victoria and Albert Museum, and features over eighty items from the V&A’s remarkable collection of underwear. Many of these have never before been publicly displayed.
The purpose of this exhibit is to explore and showcase how underwear has been used over the past centuries to manipulate and decorate the human form. Spanning garments worn over three and a half centuries, it includes corsets, bustles, petticoats, brassieres, and negligees which have in turn been worn to reduce, expose, lift, and adorn the body.
The collection is built around the themes of modesty and practicality; control and corsetry; volume, curves, bustles and petticoats; decoration and seduction; uplift, support and the bra; body image; and high fashion and underwear as outerwear.
Exhibition highlights include one of the world’s earliest known bras; Queen Victoria’s underwear; a seventeenth century iron corset; and men’s underwear. Intricately designed pieces worn by glamorous and famous women are included, as are modern pieces by famous designers such as Vivienne Westwood and Christian Dior.
If you love lingerie, costume, fashion, or are enchanted by history, this exhibition is for you. Located at 500 Harris Street, Ultimo, it makes for a great day out and a new appreciation for how far lingerie and undergarments have come – as well as for how amazingly beautiful what we don’t see has always been.