Exposed: the story of swimwear

Temporary Exhibition | Updated 9 years ago

Exposed! the story of swimwear is a revealing new exhibition that explores the history of the swimsuit and how it has shaped modern Australian society. The exhibition traces the origins of the swimsuit from its prudish beginning to the cheeky styles of today, and explores its significance to fashion, sports, and society’s views on the female form.

As a nation of sun-worshipping beach lovers Australia has always had a vested interest in swimwear. One of the first scandals of the swimwear world was at the hands of Australian swimming sensation, Annette Kellerman, who dared to wear a figure hugging full body swimming suit, in contrast to the heavy pantaloon style bathing dresses women were expected to wear. Kellerman’s story is featured in the exhibition, along with historical examples of the ever changing styles in swim wear, both in terms of fashion and function.

Swimwear collections of contemporary Australian designers are featured in the exhibition, including black one-piece bathing suits inspired by Annette Kellerman, made especially for this exhibition by influential designers Jets, Seafolly, Zimmerman, Tigerlily and Anna & Boy.

The bikini, mono-kini, tankini and the controversial Australian made burquini are just a few of the styles on show, with a vast range of historical swimsuits modelled along side contemporary designs, photographs, archived advertisements and company designs.