Undressed: a fashion journey that matters

Illustration by Katie-Lloyd Hughes

With its temporary exhibition Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear, the V&A celebrates the underrated history of lingerie, underwear, biancheria, ropa interior, bielizna, whatever you wish to call it. This is an interesting choice considering the exhibition had to compete with the important show held in Paris three years ago at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs: La Mécanique des dessous: une histoire indiscrète de la silhouette.

To my surprise, the V&A exhibition is quite small and does not follow a chronological order. The window cases are ordered rather thematically which somewhat reduces our perception of the historical evolution of fashionable body shapes and of the corresponding underwear. The show becomes much more interesting though if you take the time to read the comments on each separate item, as some garments are truly remarkable.