Underwear unveiling at Bendigo Art Gallery

Hundreds of art aficionados and fashionistas flocked to Bendigo Art Galley tonight for the international premiere of a revealing new exhibition.

Undressed: 350 Years of Underwear in Fashion features more than 80 historic and iconic garments from Britain's Victoria and Albert Museum and was opened with a cocktail function and burlesque dancers.

Bendigo Art Gallery curator Karen Quinlan said the first day of the exhibition saw about 900 visitors stream through the doors.

Another 400 frocked and suited up for the grand opening of the fourth fashion showcase in the past six years, which included the Golden Age of Couture and the highly-successful Grace Kelly exhibition.

"I think Bendigo Art Gallery is at the forefront of fashion in art museums and this is something a little bit different, it's an aspect you don't usually view because it's hidden.," Ms Quinlan said.

"There's certainly a groundswell, there's an interest out there and that's fantastic to see at the very beginning of any exhibition.

"We have a dedicated audience that just come back and are keen to see more and more."

The exhibition features more than three centuries of undergarments - from corsets, to bras, and Queen Victoria's intimates.

"It shows the harshness of corsetry and that desire to get the perfect shape, the right shape of the time," Ms Quinlan said.

"With fashion, it's often about who wore the garment. It's through clothing that you get close to people because they chose it, they wore it.

"There's some beautifully sexy garments, there's some wonderful creations, but Queen Victoria's britches are quite special.

City of Greater Bendigo Mayor Barry Lyons said he was proud to attend another "blockbuster" Bendigo event.

"Ten years ago this would have been unheard of in Bendigo, it just goes to show how much we've grown up," Mr Lyons said.

"We're a serious city to be contended with today and highlighting that is exhibitions like tonight and the number of people who came.

"There's only one really serious art gallery outside of us, and that's probably Melbourne."

Undressed: 350 Years of Underwear in Fashion runs until October 26 at Bendigo Art Gallery.

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