Never seen before images from a century of underwear innovation have been released ahead of a talk about the city’s lingerie legacy.
Selected from the M&S Company Archive, based at the University of Leeds, the images from the 1920s onwards explore the evolution of ladies’ underwear to present day.
They have been released ahead of a free event at Leeds City Museum on Friday, which will see experts use historic film, photos and original garments to trace changing lingerie fashions throughout the decades to coincide with this year’s 50th anniversary of the Leeds-founded company introducing its very first ABCD bra cup sizes.
M&S Archive and outreach officer Katie Cameron said: “With one in three women buying their bras from M&S and two pairs of knickers flying through the tills each second, it’s no surprise that M&S has been at the heart of lingerie innovation for decades.
“This talk will offer a glimpse into not only M&S innovations, but the popular lingerie of choice across the decades - some of which are drastically different from today’s favoured items.”
The talk, which takes place this Friday ay 10.30am at Leeds City Museum, will examine some of the company’s fashion milestones including the introduction of the first tailored slip in 1961 and the first post-surgery bras for Breast Cancer in 2006, which saw ten per cent of the sale of each donated to charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer.
Michael Marks opened his first bazaar in Leeds Kirkgate Market in 1884 later going into partnership with Tom Spencer in 1894 to found the brand we know today.
M&S opened their company archive at the University of Leeds’s Michael Marks building in 2012, which features a collection of more than 70,000 historic items.
Marek Romaniszyn, Leeds Museums and Galleries’ assistant community curator, said: “Women’s fashion has undergone some remarkable changes over the course of different generations, reflecting not only the evolving demands of customers, but also the perception of women in wider society.
“This talk will give us a fascinating insight into how one of our major, home grown companies has been at the forefront of meeting those changing demands and how retail and design have adapted over the past century.”