Art Review: Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear @ The V&A
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★★★☆☆ When the V&A described the history of underwear as ‘brief’ in their exhibition title, it was not simply a witty pun about pants: it is genuinely very brief. In the gallery’s description of ‘Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear’ online, it acknowledges that underwear’s ‘cut, fit, fabric and decoration reflect changing attitudes to gender, sex and morality’. There is not a clear chronology of underwear’s history in the exhibition, as display cases grouped items together based on themes such as health and hygiene rather than time, limiting the clarity of how underwear can ‘reflect changing attitudes to gender, sex and morality’ With the importance of underwear so evident and explicitly recognised by the gallery as adaptive to a transitioning society, I was surprised that the exhibition confused the chronology of the displayed items by combining items from different times in each display cabinet, interrupting the temporal progression.
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