On display at the Sagamore for the duration of Art Basel Miami Beach, exhibition Lingerie Française, a retrospective of 100 years of French lingerie, showcases the ways in which undergarments have evolved in tandem with shifting aesthetics and social values from the 1880s through the present.
Curated by Parisian author and fashion historian Catherine Ormen, the collection features 100 pieces of iconic underwear from the private archived collections of 11 renowned French lingerie manufacturers, including Chantelle, Lise Charmel, and Aubade. Pieces selected run the gamut from the sophisticated handmade bras of the thirties, to the nylon guêpières of the fifties, the pin-up style, pink-checked Brigitte Bardot-inspired bras of the sixties, to the “invisible bras” of the seventies—together offering a vision of morphing silhouettes and the ever-evolving ideals of feminine propriety. An emphasis on craftsmanship and taste is paramount—after all, from Toulouse-Lautrec’s high-kicking dancers to actress Anna Karina’s take as an exotic dancer in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1961 film Une femme est une femme (A Woman is a Woman), French lingerie has always had the curious ability to transcend any notion of vulgarity, instead simply illuminating feminine allure.
The exhibit also forges links between lingerie and art, featuring a holographic movie and photography by Gilles Berquet, a master of erotic pictures, and various pieces by contemporary artists whose works involve themes of seduction, fashion, and eroticism. For those seeking a better understanding of French style and femininity through time, Lingerie Française adroitly delves underneath it all.
Lingerie Française is held at the Sagamore, Miami, from November 29 through December 6, 2016.
Photos from Gilles Berquet/Lingerie Française.