Mirroring the evolution of society’s values, the history of underwear highlights the continuous, dancing exchange that exists between women's styles and men’s fashion. Undergarments are concealed, flaunted, stretched, or shortened, establishing a game between yesterday’s illicit and today’s chic and thereby denouncing the sense of
disgrace that these simple pieces of clothing used to betray.
Featuring two separate works on male and female underwear, this study is full of surprises and powerful reflections on man’s relationship with his body, and woman’s with hers. From the ordinary, discreet underwear of ancient times to the boxer briefs and seductive push-up bras of the 21st century, this work demonstrates how much the radical dictates of fashion reflect the evolution of both the male and female archetypes, as well as the overall values of an era.
The Author (Male Volume)
Shaun Cole is an independent exhibition commissioner, writer and lecturer primarily based at the University of London. As a curator for the Victoria and Albert Museum, he oversaw several exhibitions, most notably Graphic Responses to AIDS (1996), Fashion on Paper(1997), Dressing the Male (1999), Black British Style (2004), and the innovative series Day of Record, which makes the connection between decorative arts and personal identity. Shaun Cole has also written and lectured on the subject of menswear and homosexual fashion. His publications include Don We Now Our Gay Apparel: Gay Men’s Dress in the Twentieth Century (2000) and Dialogue: Relationships in Graphic Design (2005).
The Authors (Female Volume)
Muriel Barbier is a talented postgraduate student at the École du Louvre, where she now teaches 17th-to-19th-century decorative arts. She is also a lecturer at the Fashion and Textile Museum and other UCAD museums, and Curating Assistant at the Galliera Museum.
Shazia Boucher is Curator at the Museum of Lace in Calais, and often contributes to exhibits on fashion, lingerie, and lace.
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