The Underpinnings Museum: Incendiary: A History Of Red Lingerie


A printed catalogue for The Underpinnings Museum’s exhibition, ‘Incendiary: A History Of Red Lingerie’.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

The colour red is found in nature: in flowers, fruit, gemstones, fire, and blood. It is symbolically associated with a multitude of meanings, from lust and love to power, danger, and death. Scientists and psychologists have correlated red with male dominance, aggression, and victory. The symbology expert Michel Pastoureau wrote in his 2016 book, Red: The History of a Color (translated from the French): “Red is the archetypal color, the first color humans mastered, fabricated, reproduced, and broke down into different shades … This has given it primacy over all other colors through the millennia.”

When used to colour women’s lingerie, red’s poignant symbolism engages with societal perceptions of feminine sexuality and empowerment. During some parts of the nineteenth century, fashionable shades of red in women’s dress included scarlet, crimson, cardinal, garnet, ruby, poppy, and even a “dull deep hue” called “antique red” (Harper’s Bazaar, 1868). Yet opinions of brightly-coloured undergarments were vexed, variously considered abhorrent and improper, or stylish and inflammatory. New associations were formed by the middle of the twentieth century. Lingerie was marketed to women in countless shades of red, including flame, bright rose, spice, cherry, firecracker, and siren. These were considered fun and bold hues to enliven one’s wardrobe and were often combined with black for a “dramatic look” (Women’s Wear Daily, 1952). Since the sexual liberation movement of the 1960s, red lingerie has developed more romantic and seductive associations, gaining a reputation for being “sexy,” “red-hot,” “smouldering,” and “incendiary.”

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

This 72-page catalogue tells this story through thirty objects, dating from circa the 1860s to 2017. Twenty-six of these are included in the Underpinnings Museum’s free and accessible digital collection photographed by Tigz Rice.

Incendiary: A History Of Red Lingerie also includes an extended essay by Summer Anne Lee.

Combining our exquisite collection images with fascinating extended essays, our A5 catalogues are printed in full colour on 130gsm silk finish paper. A must-have addition to the digital library of any lingerie or fashion history enthusiast.

60% of the profits from this sale will be reinvested directly into The Underpinnings Museum, allowing this incredible resource to remain 100% free to access online, as well as to develop new projects and exhibitions.

All catalogues are also available in a downloadable PDF format directly from The Underpinnings Museum’s digital store.

In stock

Cover: Softbound

Dimensions: 148 x 210 mm (A5)

Pages: 72 pages in full colour

a selection of recent work

David Downton & Dita Von Teese Glamonatrix Cast

David Downton & Dita Von Teese Glamonatrix Cast

There were so many highlights of my time spent with the cast of Dita Von Teese's Glamonatrix Tour that it's going to take me a little while to get them all onto the blog! But, for sure, one key moment was capturing this image for International fashion illustrator...

Honouring The Lingerie Addict

Honouring The Lingerie Addict

This week, one of my absolute favourite people in the lingerie industry, Cora Harrington, announced that she is saying goodbye to The Lingerie Addict and archiving it at the end of April. I originally wrote this as a Twitter thread, but in all honesty, I wanted this...

Dita Von Teese: Glamonatrix Tour 2022

Dita Von Teese: Glamonatrix Tour 2022

If you've ever wondered what would happen if you put your trust in the Universe, then let me tell you about last week, gorgeous, because honestly... it was WILD. At the beginning of March, I had to cancel some incredibly exciting plans with a couple of the Dita Von...


Head over to Facebook and join Boudoir By Tigz Rice, an empowering community for fearless women, femmes, nonbinary & genderqueer humans looking for a safe(r) online space to share boudoir inspiration, ask for advice and make some wonderful new digital besties!

The group is a beautifully eclectic mix of past, present and future clients from all over the world, as well as some of my wonderful industry friends that have a combined wealth of knowledge beyond the boudoir.

Tigz Rice with hair and make up by Miss Victory Violet at Hotel Pigalle, Gothenburg


learn how to rock your boudoir shoot

Pin It on Pinterest