Dainties. Undergarments. Tightie-whities. Whatever your term of choice, at the bottom of it all, it’s underwear. In honor of the layer beneath, Los Angeles-based Irena Belle Productions has decided to investigate its history and evolution in Lingerie: The Art of Seduction. The 50-minute doc special, executive produced by Stephen Rocha and Edward Plumb, includes photos of the 1900-era New Orleans Red Light district and footage of the famous Marilyn Monroe ‘blowing skirt’ scene in Billy Wilder’s 1955 classic The Seven Year Itch.
‘Lingerie has always played a significant part in history, whether we’re talking about the artwork of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec or contemporary art,’ says Rocha. ‘The show, which starts with Lautrec’s artwork in the Moulin Rouge during the 1800s, will also feature historical recreations that demonstrate and outline various forms of lingerie. The special will explore changes in society and lingerie at that time. Then, as we enter the early part of the 20th century, we will see how women’s roles change as they become more involved in working and recreational society.’
Rocha explains that newsreel footage will also illustrate the evolution of the lingerie industry. Key developments include the creation of the brassiere by the French garment industry in the 1920s. (The goal was to flatten the breasts and provide the boyish figure in vogue throughout this period.) ‘Roughly speaking, the show will explore the development of lingerie in ten year increments. Once we reach present day, the special will feature interviews with women who frequently wear lingerie as outerwear when they visit nightclubs.’
Budgeted around US$100,000, Lingerie is set to wrap by October. The Playboy Channel and TLC have expressed interest, though no one had committed to broadcast at press time. Vision Films, Rocha’s L.A.-based company, will handle international distribution.