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“Coiled Corset,” Shaun Leane for Alexander McQueen, Fall/Winter 1999

Kate Bethune

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

The “Coiled Corset” is an example of radical body adornment made by jeweler Shaun Leane for fashion designer Alexander McQueen’s collection “The Overlook” (fall/winter 1999). Leane, who originally trained as a jeweler and goldsmith, first worked with McQueen in 1995, when he made silver watch chains for his “Highland Rape” collection (fall/winter 1995). His creative collaborations with McQueen soon propelled him to work with new materials and on a much larger scale to create elaborate body sculpt

Alberta Ferretti

Giulia Bussinello

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Designer Biography

Madonna

Fiona Corbridge

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Madonna—singer, actress, entertainer—has maintained a consistently high profile since the early 1980s, when her feisty image and eclectic style choices resonated with a generation of young women. Sexualized, underwear-revealing costumes popularized the trend for underwear-as-outerwear. Her profile has ensured that designers have been thrilled to design for her, disseminating couture values to a wide audience; fashion has in turn absorbed her influence and aspects of her look continue to be regene

Vivienne Westwood, “On Liberty,” Fall/Winter 1994

Lydia Edwards

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

“My job, more than anything, is to idealize women,” Vivienne Westwood has said of her work, including the fall/winter collection “On Liberty,” which premiered in Paris in 1994. Her appropriation of historic styles is well known, but in this collection a reinvention of the bustle, the nineteenth-century skirt support that accented a woman’s behind and allowed for elaborate skirt drapery, is more fluid than similar iterations have been. Westwood’s stark wire cage from 1990, for instance, was not so

Underwear from the 1970s to 2000

Hayley-Jane Edwards-Dujardin

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

From the twentieth century, underwear has acquired a functional and an aesthetic purpose, sometimes serving as a second skin for comfort and at other times as an exoskeleton, reshaping the body’s natural form. It conceals or audaciously reveals women’s intimacy and thus nourishes erotic fantasies in a flirtatious game of “nice meets naughty.” Underwear originally had a function of protection, hygiene, and support; it embodied the existing social boundaries between the hidden intimacy and the publ

Fashion 1970s–2000s

Colleen Hill

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

In London, the Victoria and Albert Museum’s 1971 exhibition “Fashion: An Anthology by Cecil Beaton” attracted more than 90,000 visitors, making it one of the most well attended shows in the museum’s history. While Beaton acquired examples of historical dress from some of Britain’s most fashionable women, he placed particular emphasis on recent fashion—a largely unprecedented idea. Also important was the exhibition’s experimental installation, created in part by professional store window dressers

Chanel Haute Couture, Karl Lagerfeld, Fall/Winter 1991

Michelle Honig

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

This collection is an example of what Bernadine Morris at the New York Times termed “the new age of haute couture,” where couture was about exploring directional, fashion-forward concepts instead of just creating opulent clothing. Presented at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Lagerfeld subverted stiff, prom-dressy tulle by molding it into gaucho pants, puffy parkas, and bubble dresses. Atypical fabrics like cellophane and plastic were used on classic tweed jackets. He also introduce

Donna Karan

Sandra J. Ley

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Designer Biography

Betsey Johnson, Spring/Summer 1986

Veronica Maldonado

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Presented at the Palladium nightclub in New York City, Betsey Johnson’s spring/summer 1986 collection depended on many of her signature tropes—her usual use of romantic stylings such as petticoats, crinolines, bustiers, and lace combine with kitschy accessories like kitchen utensils, baggie boxes as hats, baby bottle earrings, and feather dusters, creating a look that teases ideas of the feminine—the romantic femininity of the materials and silhouettes mixes with the traditionally female role of

1990s Style: Key Themes and Trends

Melissa Marra-Alvarez

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

The 1990s, the decade that brought a close to the second millennium, appeared to introduce fashion trends at a breakneck pace, prompting the January 1996 issue of American Vogue to report that “never [had] a decade been so indecisive when it [came] to fashion.” However, despite the rapid cycling of styles that characterized this decade, a number of trends did manage to leave a lasting impression, such that these are now considered emblematic of 1990s fashion. This article examines five of these f

Flyte Ostell

Emily M. Orr

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Designer Biography

Corset, Thierry Mugler, ca.1996

Amanda M. B. Pajak

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Fashion and perfume designer Thierry Mugler, born in Strasbourg, France on 21 December 1948, was trained at the Strasbourg School of Decorative Arts and came to critical prominence in the early 1970s as a freelance designer working for a variety of fashion houses in Paris, Milan, London, and Barcelona. In 1978 he opened his first Paris boutique at the Place des Victoires. During the 1990s, a trend celebrating the brazen display of lingerie as outerwear was popularized by multiple designers, inclu

Anne Klein

Shari Sims

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Designer Biography

Mugler

Laura Snelgrove

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Designer Biography

John Rocha, Spring/Summer 1997

Nadya Wang

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

John Rocha’s spring/summer 1997 collection showed off his strengths to great advantage. Sleek silhouettes and natural materials created blank canvases on which he could unleash his creative imagination with handcrafted details: beading, appliqué, crochet, and hand-painted designs. These were used on bralettes, dresses, hooded cardigans, sleeveless tops, and trousers in his favored colors of beige, black, and white, together with shades of blue and gray. Underwear-as-outerwear was on trend for the

The Fall and Rise of Erotic Lingerie

Dana Wilson-Kovacs

Source: Dressed to Impress. Looking the Part 2011

Book chapter

The ways in which the body is packaged and visually exhibited are an essential part of consumerism. With a tradition that can be traced back to the eve of modern times, consumerism cannot fully account for the unprecedented attention surrounding the clothing of the body, and the multitude of codes, readings and interpretations accompanying its display. The cultural practices that define the body influence its representations and contemporary ideas of femininity and masculinity. These ideas are re

G-String and Thong

Caroline Cox

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

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Lingerie

Caroline Cox

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

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Petticoat

Caroline Cox

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

By the nineteenth century, petticoats had several functions. They were used as underlinen to provide warmth and protect outer clothing from an unclean body, to give a structure to the skirt depending on the fashionable silhouette of the time, and to disguise the shape of the legs to give a modest appearance to a woman. It formed part of an extensive range of underwear as worn by the Victorian woman, which was comprised of a chemise, drawers, corset, and several petticoats. Petticoats were general

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Dress Reform

Patricia A. Cunningham

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. The United States and Canada 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Throughout the nineteenth century and in the early decades of the twentieth century, the basic silhouette of women’s dress in the United States went through many changes. Many people accepted this ever-changing succession of fashions as a natural phenomenon, an inevitable outward expression of progress; fashion was a sign of modernity. The changing styles of dress and its silhouette were largely dependent on various undergarments—corsets, petticoats, crinolines, bustles, and other supporting devi

Soviet Underwear

Julia Demidenko

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. East Europe, Russia, and the Caucasus 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Soviet-era underwear—both its manufacturing and consumption—were determined not only by fashion but also, to a great extent, by the ideology and political goals of the state and its economic priorities at different stages. As a result of the revolution of February 1917, underwear became simpler, and its assortment was reduced. Due to the devastation that followed the October Revolution of 1917 and the civil war, people continued to wear prerevolutionary styles of underwear.

Nineteenth-Century Medical Views on Dress

Margaret Deppe

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Global Perspectives 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Much attention has been given to the social context of clothing in the past as dress and fashion phenomena are critical indicators concerning the economic, political and ideological components of a given society. In England and North America in the nineteenth century, the tight lacing of ladies’ corsets was a function of clothing fashion as well as a fashion in morality and an indicator of social and economic status. Physicians joined dress reformers in repeatedly issuing warnings against tight l

Body and Dress

Angela Durante and Jenny Ellison

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. The United States and Canada 2010

Encyclopedia entry

All human cultures engage in some form of dress and adornment. Although our bodies and the items we put on them might appear to be separate, they in fact have a great deal in common and are considerably intertwined. A dressed body represents a complex set of negotiations between an individual, the fashion system, and the social context in which they exist. Codes of dress set parameters but do not entirely determine how individuals dress. The body and dress are mutually constitutive—dress adds soc

Underwear

Grace Evans

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The fashionable silhouette has gone through bewildering changes during the last two hundred years, and these would not have been possible without the shapes created beneath. Underwear and outerwear progressed in tandem. Underwear designers responded to prevailing styles of fashionable dress, and fashion designers built and relied upon the capabilities of structural underpinnings as they developed. These changes were, in turn, influenced by key social, economic, and technological developments, whi

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