The Fashion Archives and Museum of Shippensburg University is pleased to announce its newest exhibit, “(Re)Shaping the Body.” It will explore body modifying underwear and optical illusion tailoring to alter the shape of the human body to match the fashion ideal of different decades. The exhibit officially opens with a reception on Thursday, April 6 from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. 

Corsets, bustles, cages and more will be on display, as well as fully mounted garments to showcase how the body was built up, altered or reduced over different centuries. 

Dr. Karin J. Bohleke, director of the Fashion Archives and Museum is excited for visitors to experience what she explains is the very foundation of fashion.

“Christian Dior famously stated that without foundation, there is no fashion. The history of men’s and women’s fashions is indeed the story of the foundation garments essential to creating the appearance of a specific body type or attribute that rarely matches most potential wearers. This explores the hidden layers and tailoring efforts that literally engineer the body into a different shape. Corsetry, for example, is alive and well, only today we call it ‘shapewear,’ or, more specifically, ‘Spanx,'” said Bohleke

The Fashion Archives and Museum houses a unique 15,000-item collection of mostly clothing donations dating from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. The clothes and accessories worn by men, women and children assist in expanding the knowledge and understanding of the cultural value as well as the artistic and historical importance of dress. The Fashion Archives and Museum collaborates with faculty and students by providing a dynamic learning environment with hands-on opportunities for students and welcomes the public its exhibits and events. Research inquiries are also welcome.

Check out more information on the Fashion Archives and Museum at Shippensburg University.