For centuries, women didn’t wear knickers. ftey were bare underneath their multitude of skirts!
It wasn’t until the beginning of the XIX century that knickers, even if they were long and with slits, earned the status of female underwear and were worn by a select few women. In England, “lingerie trousers”, the mother of knickers, was for young women during their gymnastic sessions, to avoid them losing their dignity. It was only under the Second Empire that wearing knickers became obligatory due to the size of the crinoline, which tended to rise up more than was considered acceptable. At the end of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century, knickers were wide, pleated at the waist with a large, buttoned belt, decorated with frills or lace and always slitted. Becoming shorter and shorter, following the fashions (in order to not surpass skirts), the slits in knickers were finally sewn up! In 1918, whilst knickers became gradually shorter, Pierre Valton, French director of an underwear company, decided to cut knickers as we know them today. Very simple, in white cotton and with elasticated waists. It was the birth of Petit Bateau knickers. fte revolution marched on and small knickers became common affairs in the 1920s! After the invention of Lycra® in 1959, the lingerie industry boomed. Yet, knickers became truly iconic in 1955, when a certain Marilyn Monroe revealed them as she stood over a metro air vent in fte Seven Year Itch (a creation from the Austrian brand Hanro). Ever since, stylists across the world have worked with knickers in all forms and all colours.