Best Museum Exhibition (Functional Division) - 2012
Underneath It All
Short version: Frankly, it's hard to get much sexier than an exhibit centered on women's underwear. Longer version: Pass through the curtain-swagged exhibition entrance at the Missouri History Museum, and you pass into the normally secretive world of women's undergarments. There's even a rack to indulge in some dress-up games with panniers, hoops, crinolines and stays. A sailor has carved a whalebone busk for his lover. A luminous red corset with black lace hides beneath a dark, bustled gown. A Gibson girl wears a demure eyelet dress with a high neck, yet underneath are yards and yards of lace and pink satin ribbons. The curators have paired full sets of foundation garments with a dressed mannequin to show how each one shapes the other, fashion era by fashion era. Frankly, it's hard to get much sexier than an exhibit centered on women's underwear.