What do the thousands of images of bras and panties on perfectly sculpted bodies that we see spread across billboards and magazines say about our society? Many women indulge in lingerie to please men. Yet, since Antiquity, women have always kept lingerie hidden away under outer garments. Thus, lingerie must be more than erotic bait. Authors Muriel Barbier and Shazia Boucher have researched iconography to explore the relationship of lingerie to society, the economy and the corridors of intimacy. They correlate lingerie with emancipation, querying whether it asserts newfound freedoms or simply adjusts to conform to changing social values. The result is a rigorous scientific rationale spiced with a zestly humour. And the tinier lingerie gets, the more scholarly attention the authors believe it deserves.
About the Author
Shazia Boucher is Curator at the Musee de la Dentelle in Calais, and often contributes to exhibitions on fashion, lingerie, and lace.