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Underwear: From corsets to bullet-bras and back

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Published on Jan 31, 2014

As recently as 70 years ago, foundation garments, as corsets were called, were fundamental to the way that women dressed. Eleri Lynn, author of a new book about the V&A's huge underwear collection, gives a brief history of shapewear, starting with the hourglass and S-bend forms - and steel and whalebone engineering - of Victorian and Edwardian corsets, carries on through the breast-flattening bandeau bras worn by 1920s flappers, the New Look underwear of Christian Dior, the conicle bullet bras of the 1950s and concludes with the arrival of Lycra in the 1960s and the renaissance of corsetry through the new popularity of burlesque.As recently as 70 years ago, foundation garments, as corsets were called, were fundamental to the way that women dressed. Eleri Lynn, author of a new book about the V&A's huge underwear collection, gives a brief history of shapewear, starting with the hourglass and S-bend forms - and steel and whalebone engineering - of Victorian and Edwardian corsets, carries on through the breast-flattening bandeau bras worn by 1920s flappers, the New Look underwear of Christian Dior, the conicle bullet bras of the 1950s and concludes with the arrival of Lycra in the 1960s and the renaissance of corsetry through the new popularity of burlesque.

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