Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Lovingly creative lingerie for Valentine's Day

What is the best kind of romantic gesture? A little note, flowers, perfume, chocolate and wine? Search terms currently trending on discount shopping sites indicate that the gift you will most likely receive or give this Valentine's Day will be lingerie.

You may think undergarments for one's beloved is a modern day phenomenon but throughout history, delicate items of apparel have been common romantic gifts: think gloves, handkerchiefs and hosiery. Irrespective of consumer trends, lingerie can be a perfect fit with the mood of the 14th as illustrated by these 1907 French postcards: delightful, alluring and intimate (and perhaps a little saucy).

French postcards illustrated by R. Rössler and published by M. M. Vienne & M. Munk, 1907. Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (SM154 & SM156)
Gifting lingerie could mean kitting yourself out in something lacy or buying it for someone else. This article from Modern Woman magazine from February 1946 gives advice to women about discerning taste in undergarments. In the last few weeks Magazines, Newspapers and stores pitching at the love-struck shopper are a mix of general 'what's hot' information, along with some tips for buying for another person.

Pages from Modern Woman, February 1946, Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (MJ97)

All this talk of retail consumption can leave some feeling a tad uncomfortable, particularly when you can put a price tag to the tune of $USD18.6 billion on it all: that's what the National Retailers Federation estimate the USA will be spent this year on Valentine's Day.

Some would argue that time is the most treasured gift lovers can offer. Others feel that inspired, homemade creative outputs such as crafts can be a more fitting way to express love in tangible form. Here at MoDA, we feel we may have found the perfect solution for the modern day romantic gift this Valentine's Day in our collection store....

Lingerie+Time+Creativity = Knitted Pants.

Designs from Stitchcraft magazine, Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture, (MJ125)

Pattern for A man's light-weight singlet and shorts from The Pictorial Guide to Modern Home Knitting, edited by Catherine Franks, Odhams Press Ltd: London, 1945, Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (BADDA3266)
Pattern for a vest and pantie set from Practical Knitting Illustrated: The Key to Hundreds of garments you can make yourself, by Margaret Murray and Jane Koster, Odhams Press Ltd: London, 1947 (BADDA3267, Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture)
Unless you are a whizz with the knitting needles these may have to wait until Valentine's Day 2014, but we do hope you will get some inspiration from the idea.

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