The exhibition gives the public the chance to discover just how swimwear may or may not have changed over the past 100 years. Women have been through many fashion transitions in their bid to be able to enjoy the water, the seaside and, at some points of history, maintain their modesty too.
Explore the strange and the practical, from knitted bathing dresses made with bloomers, to the 21st-century burkini, and everything in between. Riviera Style at the Fashion and Textile Museum highlights the evolution of swimwear from conservative Edwardian cover-ups to modern bikinis and burkinis.
Design historian Dr Christine Boydell from De Montfort University is one of the team of curators.
Exhibition curator Dr Christine Boydell.
She told Lingerie Insight she believes this is the first time that the history of swimwear has been explored in an exhibition of this scale.
“There have been other, similar exhibitions at regional museums, but I think the scale of the exhibition is key.There are about 200 items on display – more objects than the museum has ever had to handle in an exhibition before,” she explains.
The Opening with clothes from the 1890s, when doctors prescribed days at the beach as a health cure, the exhibition tells the story of fashion and our changing attitudes to modesty.
It also shows how both designers and manufacturers of swimwear have attempted over the years to enhance the wearer’s appearance. It also shows how technological developments in elite performance swimwear have slashed Olympic records and found their way into the every day swimming experience.
The exhibition began in July and runs until 29 August.
photo credit: Telegraph/Getty Images