Bonnie J Brown
Bras, panties, corsets, slips, camisoles, and garter belts; what was once considered a foundation piece is now fair game for fashion. While the effect can be a bit shocking at times, especially for the prudish, I’ve often wondered why such beautiful fabrics and intricate designs should be hidden. But if the spring 2010 fashion shows are any indication on what trends we can expect to see during the upcoming, hopefully warmer months, one thing is certain: what was once under is now definitely outer.
The history of underwear, particularly for women, is such an amazing story and can actually reflect how women were viewed and treated during a particular time period. Take the corset, for instance, a garment constructed from bone, metal, fabric, and stays was created to emphasize a tiny waist and push out a woman’s chest and buttocks. The corset has been worn for more years than not and only became obsolete during the early 1900’s, when women were actually required (or allowed) to do more than sit and be pretty. Up until the 1980’s underwear was strictly that – garments worn under other clothing. Bras were given different shapes to transform a woman’s bosom; girdles did the same for the waist and thighs. Many evening gowns fashioned during the 1950s and earlier actually had foundation pieces sewn into the dresses, the perfect way to avoid the dreaded panty-line and the ultimate way to alter ones shape.
Lingerie designed by large fashion houses is a relatively new concept. Though Victoria’s Secret is far from designer, they certainly helped shape the lingerie industry today. From their beginning they were able to market the idea of undergarments as specialty pieces. By opening stores and then later their catalog company in the late 1970’s, they created an environment that made it comfortable for people (men in particular) to shop for such private garments as bras and other lingerie items. The idea and the very name of Victoria’s Secret suggest that undergarments are personal, but not so much of late. Celebrities arrive at events wearing nothing but barely opaque tights, stay-up thigh highs are on display and Victoria’s Secret is not the only place to find lingerie on the runway.
A number of spring ready-to-wear 2010 collections have strong influences coming from lingerie; my favorite is from Christian Dior by John Galliano. The vibrant colors scream to be admired, but the soft fabrics and delicate shapes are what one would normally find hidden in the lingerie department. No longer will women be hiding themselves in â€œboyfriendâ€ jeans and sweaters that were popular just a season before. Instead flirty, luxurious materials reminiscent of 1940’s glamour will be the rage.
1. 1930’s Slip $74.25
2. 1930’s Bra $41.25
3. Madonna 1980’s
4. Christian Dior Spring 2010 RTW
5. Christian Dior Spring 2010 RTW
6. Christian Dior Spring 2010 RTW
7. Christian Dior Spring 2010 RTW
8. Sienna Miller People.com
9. Blake Lively Marie Claire December 2009 Issue
Image Layout: Minette Higden