Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear at the Victoria and Albert Museum


Corset, 1890-1895 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
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A revealing look inside men and women’s wardrobes through the centuries. Read More


Discover the secrets that lie beneath fashion, as the Victoria and Albert Museum bares all in Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear.

From supporting and shaping the body in line with the latest fashion, to its sensual appeal, the exhibition looks at the changing roles and practicalities of underwear through the centuries. On display are more than 200 men and women’s garments and accessories, as well as photographs, films, packaging and fashion plates.

Highlights include an 1890s 19-inch-waist whalebone corset, cotton drawers worn by Queen Victoria’s mother and an 1842 man’s wedding waist belt, shown alongside more modern items such as Liza Bruce’s sheer dress worn by Kate Moss, skin-coloured leggings by Vivienne Westwood, plus designer pieces by Stella McCartney, La Perla and Paul Smith. The exhibition also highlights the works of major players and influencers in the world of underwear, such as Paul Poiret and his uncorseted dress designs, and inventors who worked towards making underwear more practical.

An essential part of any wardrobe, underwear helps us to understand the changing ideals of beauty and body through history.


Venue Details & Map

Victoria and Albert Museum

Cromwell Road
South Kensington
+44 (0)20 7942 2000
Public transport:
Tube: South Kensington, Knightsbridge Train: Victoria. Follow the Museums tunnel from South Kensington Underground.

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