Hanky Panky on Display at the Missouri History Museum!

Hanky Panky is honored to be included in the Missouri History Museum’s current lingerie-themed costume exhibition, Underneath It AllThis exhibition explores the undergarments required to create the fashionable silhouettes of the late eighteenth through twenty-first centuries.

As a lingerie designer and student fashion historian, I was thrilled to hear about this show. I find the foundations used to create the fashionable silhouette to be one of the most interesting aspects of fashion. And tracing the changing ideals of what a fashionable body is supposed to look like is, to me, one of the purest ways of studying the underlying forces of fashion. Fashion has always distorted the body in one way or another to make it “more attractive,” within the lens of its time. These largely unattainable ideals are reflected in how people dress—to create the illusion of whatever the current ideal shape happens to be.

As I am unable to travel to St. Louis, the curatorial staff at the Missouri History Museum were kind enough to send these fabulous photographs of the show. If you live in the area, I heartily encourage you to check it out. The exhibition is up through January 27, 2013.

1850s-1880s Underpinnings. Underneath it All photographed at the Missouri History Musem July 17th and 19th, 2012.  Copyright Missouri History Museum, 2012.

Bustles and cage crinoline showing the development of silhouette from the late 1850s through the 1880s.

1890s Corset And petticoat 1920s & 1930s lingerie. Underneath it All photographed at the Missouri History Musem July 17th and 19th, 2012.  Copyright Missouri History Museum, 2012.

At left, you can see the firmly shaped hourglass corset of the 1890s, in the center, the softly curving silhouette of the 1930s, and at right, the straight, boyish silhouette of the 1920s.

1930s lingerie. Underneath it All photographed at the Missouri History Musem July 17th and 19th, 2012.  Copyright Missouri History Museum, 2012.

The softly curved silhouette of the 1930s was achieved with an elasticized foundation garment worn beneath bias-cut silk or rayon slip.

1940s and 1950s Lingerie. Underneath it All photographed at the Missouri History Musem July 17th and 19th, 2012.  Copyright Missouri History Museum, 2012.

At right, you can see the high, wide-set breasts, exaggerated shoulders and narrow hips of the late 1930s through the mid-1940s. At left, is the corseted and crinolined  “New Look” silhouette of the late 1940s through the early 1960s.

1960s Lingerie. Underneath it All photographed at the Missouri History Musem July 17th and 19th, 2012.  Copyright Missouri History Museum, 2012.

Here, we can see the slender, youthful ideal of the 1960s embodied in wildly colorful underpinnings which provide minimal shaping.

1970s Lingerie. Underneath it All photographed at the Missouri History Musem July 17th and 19th, 2012.  Copyright Missouri History Museum, 2012.

At left you can see the “natural look” of the early 1970s. Minimal undergarments were required to achieve this silhouette, and bras were designed to offer support while maintaining  a “no bra” look.

Lingerie from the 1980s to today. Underneath it All photographed at the Missouri History Musem July 17th and 19th, 2012.  Copyright Missouri History Museum, 2012.

At right, you can see the exaggerated shoulders of the 1980s, in the Hanky Panky shoulder pad camisole, designed by Gale Epstein in 1979. The left shows contemporary shapewear styles, and at center, is the Hanky Panky low rise thong paired with adhesive bra cups, representing the tiny, “invisible” underthings of the twenty-first century.

–Larissa

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

No related posts.

About Hanky Panky

Over 30 years ago, in 1977, designer Gale Epstein created a hand-made lingerie set for her friend, Lida Orzeck, crafted out of embroidered handkerchiefs. The original designs were the inspiration for the company name, Hanky Panky. Blending traditional with modern glam looks, Hanky Panky is a fashion favorite of countless celebrities.
This entry was posted in Fashion History, Travel, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.