Underwear on show at Bendigo Art Gallery: Video, Pictures

VIDEO: Glenn Daniels

IT'S not every day you get to see Queen Victoria's underpants.

But visitors to the Bendigo Art Gallery's upcoming Undressed - 350 years of underwear in fashion will see everything from Queen Victoria's drawers to the iron corsetry of the 16th century - including a maternity model.

The exhibition opens on July 19 but the Bendigo Advertiser had a sneak peak behind the scenes on Thursday morning.

Staff form the Bendigo Art Gallery were busy helping two representatives from the Victoria and Albert Museum unpack and assemble more than 80 items that chart the history of underwear from 1750 to the present day.

The Bendigo Advertiser watched on as the experts donned gloves and carefully removed the packaging surrounding Queen Victoria's drawers.

Senior curator Leanne Fitzgibbon it was an exciting moment.

"Queen Victoria's drawers were unpacked today and I think that was an item we were all looking forward to having a close look at," she said. "All the pieces are absolute knockouts for various reasons.

"The display of corsetry has fascinated all of the staff - looking at the tiny waistlines and, of course, items like the maternity corset and marvelling at the shapes and how the shape of our bodies has changed over time.

"And what has been considered 'ideal' and how that's been created using foundation wear."

Ms Fitzgibbon said installation of the exhibition had passed the half way mark.

"A considerable number of the items have been unpacked and secured and we will spend a number of days tweaking the exhibition, getting the lighting right and making sure the final details are attended to," she said. "We have two staff here from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London who oversee the installation of every object ... we can ensure all the objects are well cared for."

Undressed - 350 years of underwear in fashion is the Bendigo Art Gallery's fourth exhibition in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum.

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