Friday, June 19, 2009

Fancy Pants: Historic Lingerie



Clever, clever Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey, London. Instead of trying to compete for summer tourist attendance with some worthy show filled with bustles and snoods, they hit punters below the belt with a retrospective on lingerie. Elle McPherson opened the show, big brassiere names like Myla and La Perla contributed samples, and special sections like "Stars in their Bras" will guarantee that even the most museum-averse blokes won't need much encouragement for this particular cultural outing.

All well and good, but there are some examples of cracking WWII-era lingerie that this show missed. Examples that happen to be for sale on my favorite new vintage website, 1860-1960.

Now, to my eye these happen to fall more firmly in the category of historical curiousities than bloke bait, but that's the kind of thing you (and the bloke) must judge for yourselves.

Exhibit A: an unworn set of black rayon bra and zip-crotch (eek!) panties embroidered with slogans, for the wartime girlfriend left behind by her soldier guy. Click on image to enlarge, if you dare. If you don't, the slogan reads: "Keep your pants on honey until I come home." The fact that they're unworn has to make you wonder . . .

Exhibit B: a pair of burlap/hessian underpants, embroidered with black lace. I repeat: burlap knickers. Stenciled on the front: "Sugar/Spice". Stenciled on the back "And Everything Nice". That little red bow is just killing me. These, less surprisingly, also unworn.

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