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Support and Seduction: Three Hundred Years of Underwear

Start Date 28 May 2011
End Date 13 May 2012
Venue Snibston Discovery Park
Location Leicester, UK

Unusual items of underwear including an inflatable bra from the 1950s and a corset busk stamped with a secret love message will be featured in a fascinating new exhibition.

The exhibition which charts the changes in underwear over the last three hundred years is going on display at Snibston Discovery Museum on Saturday 28th May. 

Entitled ‘Support and Seduction’, the exhibition depicts the changes in fashionable, practical, alluring and sporting underwear from the 18th century to the present day.

The exhibition will display over 200 individual items of male and female underwear, some from Leicestershire’s famous Symington Collection of corsetry which has an international reputation.

The exhibition is arranged in seven themes: Allure, Shape Makers, Doctor’s Orders, Super-Modern Wardrobe, Cleanliness is next to Godliness and Sporting Underwear – all them with their own wonderful examples of the forever evolving undergarments.

The oldest items on display are a woman’s corset from the 1770s and a man’s shirt from the 1780s.  The most recent garments are items from Next’s current lingerie collection.

The exhibition includes images from the Symington collection and from the Wolsey archive at the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland and, from the Next collection which is curated by Leicestershire County Council’s Museum’s Service.

David Sprason, Leicestershire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Communities said:

“Underwear is important to us all not only because it’s something that we all wear but also because it has been vital to Leicestershire’s local economy  through companies like Wolsey, Symington, Corah’s and many others. This tradition continues in Leicestershire with Next and innovation is being driven through the contour fashion design course at De Montfort University.

“The exhibition reflects changing styles of and attitudes to underwear and charts the technological and design changes that influence the first things that we put on in the morning.  Snibston holds one of the finest collections of fashion and clothing outside of London and I would urge everyone to go along to the museum and see this amazing exhibition.”