ESSE Purse Museum is excited to announce a new temporary exhibit Exposed: Unmentionables, 1900s-1960s, which opens Tuesday, January 30, 2018. The exhibit runs through Sunday, April 29, and is included in regular admission price.
Typically not displayed for all to view, undergarments offer a unique view into a woman’s life and the measures she will take to achieve a certain look. This exhibit aims to showcase the evolving perceptions of the ideal female figure and the contraptions it takes to achieve it.
Pain is beauty, or is it? Certainly every woman has experienced the discomfort of a binding undergarment, but the pain inflicted by these present-day garments is minor compared to what women were expected to endure. As we look back to the early 1900s, typically restrictive foundation garments are beginning to be designed with a woman’s well being in mind. The invention of new materials and evolving beauty ideals led to less of a reliance on these garments to mold a woman’s body and more on them to enhance the beauty that is innately present.
The artifacts on display are from ESSE’s permanent collection and include dress forms, corsets, advertisements, slips, photographs and other special accessories.