We love a good exhibit, a Saturday afternoon spent quietly stalking the floors of our favorite museums is one of our true urbanite delights. And when our love of curated/thought-provoking/loveliness/objet/history intersects with our love of lingerie? Intellectual freak out. When we first heard about the V&A’s new exhibit, Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear we a) knew we probably weren’t going to make it to London for the opening party but that b) we had to celebrate somehow. Inspired by a recent trip to the incredible Museum of the Moving Image and by AnOtherMag‘s, roundup, we decided to curate our own lingerie history, using iconic moments from the silver screen. We find lingerie inspiration everywhere (natch), but our favorite sources are the characters that fascinate us. Because it is so personal + intimate, lingerie helps tells a story in ways other costume elements can’t. Below, some of our favorite scenes, in which lingerie plays more than a supporting role, from French classics to 90’s teen comedies. We’re ready for our close-up…
Belle de Jour, 1967
In this iconic French drama, Catherine Deneuve plays a beautiful but bored housewife who begins secretly spending her afternoon hours working in a bordello. Despite the dark plot lines and subversive “erotic surrealism,” Deneuve sports elegant, pure white lingerie through out the film. As if we needed any more fuel for our current obsession with white lingerie, YSL himself designed many of the costumes for the film, including this balconette and gartered bottom set pictured above. The Look: Else Petunia Strapless Bandeau Bra, Else Petunia Garter Slip.
Marie Antoinette, 2006
From the elaborate bustles to the decadent cakes, the wigs, the gallons of champagne, stunning gardens, and shoes! shoes! shoes! Sophia Coppola’s film documenting the life of France’s most infamous monarch is full of eye candy. But, it’s also perfectly French that amidst all the glitz and glam, one of the film’s most memorable scenes features Kiki in next to nothing: a pair of stockings and a well-placed fan (where can we get one of those btw??). Let them eat cake indeed. The Look: L’Agent Seam & Heel Hold Up Stockings.
Empire Records, 1995
Yes, 90’s, yes. Perhaps the only thing that makes the scene in which Liv Tyler’s character attempts to seduce pop star Rex Manning bearable (it is so awkward it hurts), is the perfectly incongruous, genius lingerie look she has going on. This movie probably inspired us to purchase our first red bra (you too?), and now it’s reminding us to up our mix-and-match game. The Look: Journelle Eva Balconette Bra, Eberjey Pima Goddess Low-Rider Bikini.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith, 2005
In the roles that famously sparked their IRL romance, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt both play top assassins hiding their identities within their dull, beige marriage until they’re hired to kill one another. Yikes. Spoiler alert: bullets and sparks fly! And, although Angelina looks stunning in literally anything, this black vinyl number is particularly killer (pun intended). The Look: Bordelle Angela Dress with Structured Cups.
The Royal Tenenbaums, 2001
We would be remiss if we didn’t name Margot Tenenbaum as one of our eternal style icons. We’re constantly fighting (and occasionally giving in to) our urges to chop our hair into a blunt bob, take up smoking, and wear far too much eyeliner every day. Although her Lacoste dress and fur coat combination is a classic, we think her nude slip is a perfect mix of wonderful, vulnerable and complicated. Bonus points if you pair it with a Pulitzer prize and a wooden finger. The Look: Journelle Gemma Chemise.
By Bella Cacciatore