Exposed! The Victoria & Albert Museum Exhibits Underwear, Gently Used

A Brief History of Underwear

At the exhibition “Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear,” opening tomorrow at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, you can see underwear worn by Kate Moss, as well as gently used pieces by Dita Von Teese and Queen Victoria’s mother. This comprehensive retrospective of seminal undergarments includes the torturous whale-bone corsets that shaped Victorian silhouettes into the unnatural figures that predicted Kim Kardashian, and includes some choice waist-belts and pajamas worn by distinguished men over the years. But where is the genderless section?


Gwyneth Paltrow in Trompe l’oeil corset dress by Antonio Berardi, 2009. Photo by Sipa Press/REX Shutterstock. Courtesy the Victoria & Albert museum. Gwyneth Paltrow

‘Two Lovers’ film premiere, Paris, France – 04 Nov 2008

Directed by James Gray and starring Joaquin Phoenix, Gwyneth Paltrow, Vinessa Shaw and Isabella Rossellini, ‘Two Lovers’ is a Brooklyn-set romantic drama about bachelor Leonard (Phoenix), who moves back in with his parents following a recent heartbreak. His concerned parents try to set him up with Sandra (Shaw), the sweet and caring daughter of a close family friend. However, Leonard finds himself torn between Sandra and his beautiful but volatile new neighbour, Michelle (Paltrow).


Whalebone corset, 1890. Courtesy the Victoria & Albert museum.


Brixton Boyz, 2001. Courtesy the Victoria & Albert museum.


Cover from the Dean Rogers Menswear Catalogue, 1960s. Courtesy the Victoria & Albert museum.


Vivienne Westwood leggings. Courtesy the Victoria & Albert museum.


Jean-Paul Gaultier corset dress, late 1980s. Courtesy the Victoria & Albert museum.


Charnaux advertising brochure, 1934. Courtesy the Victoria & Albert museum.