There’s been all kinds of fashion fun taking place at Toronto’s Design Exchange in recent months. First there was the Christian Louboutin retrospective and now we have the titillating Lingerie Francaise, a retrospective covering over 100 years of glorious French lingerie.
Following the shows in Paris, London, Shanghai, Dubai, Berlin and New York, the travelling exhibition has now arrived in Toronto, opening to the public as of this week until October 13. Curated by Catherine Ormon — a heritage conservator and graduate of the Ecole du Louvre and the Ecole du Patrimoine and former student of Studio Berçot — the French association PROMINCOR presents the 100 years of French expertise in creativity and luxury, which basically means we gander at ye olde timey underwear without breaking into a blush.
Eleven renowned French lingerie manufacturers — Aubade, Barbara, Chantelle, Empreinte, Implicite, Lise Charmel, Lou, Maison Lejaby, Passionata, Princesse tam.tam and Simone Pérèle — open their treasures to the public as the unique exhibition demonstrates the influence lingerie products have been exerting on society. There’s everything from late nineteenth century corsets, up until the present day dominatrix like stringy things.
In total, 210 exhibits will be presented and next to the historical pieces on display, the exhibition also offers a unique view into the chronology by means of providing moving images and pictures. I couldn’t help but giggling while reading one particular info board: “The corset made a woman a beautiful, but unproductive object.”
The show culminates in a "Trans-Historical Striptease,” basically a life-sized hologram who illustrates the development of lingerie with a view to the change of the female silhouette and her body language. It’s cute and the exhibition overall is one that you can feel proud about having satisfied your fashion fancies and enhanced your historical knowledge.