First developed in the late 19th century, “lingerie” is fashionable and alluring undergarments designed to be visually appealing or erotic. Over the centuries the search for comfort was turned into fetish, sharpened through films and magazines which knew the right and seductive way divas should undress. Over time the lingerie passed for a series of transformations until the present day, combining technology, comfort and sensuality.
Amsterdam Fashion TV selected some snapshots illustrating the transformation of lingerie in the 20th century.
1900: corsets are used to press the body and model the silhouette. They had already been used for over 400 years.
1910: French couturier Paul Poiret says goodbye to uncomfortable corsets, creating a more natural silhouette inspired by Russian ballet and Greek statues.
1920: After World War I women abandon corsets: the Industrial revolution has changed their lifestyle, and they need garments allowing movement, suitable to work.
1930: the fashion world is invaded by Pin Ups, for the first time lingerie is in plain view, in pictures and movies. Lingerie becomes feminine, yet comfortable.
1940: World War II affects the availability of fabrics suitable for lingerie. Women start making their own bras with nylon from parachutes, remains of old wedding dresses and other salvaged materials.
1950: Women’s comfort increases thanks to technological innovations: lingerie is now made of transpiring fabrics like cotton.
1960: Feminist revolution, women around the world burn their bras on the streets as a form of protest against social inequality between men and women.
1970: lingerie reaches a new status with the release of elastane (lycra), making the modelling more flexible and adaptable. And comfortable!
1980: lingerie becomes an object of seduction with Jean Paul Gaultier’s creation for the unforgettable Material Girl.
Since then many brands are investing not only in comfort but also in pieces that make women feel more powerful and sexy.
What is on the outside is important, but what’s underneath can also be very interesting!