history of lingerie


The Brief History of: Jessica’s Lingerie Shop

In 1989, Walt Disney Co. opened Pleasure Island as a way to keep adults on the Walt Disney World property after dark. Pleasure Island was restricted to guests 21+ (unless accompanied by an adult), and consisted mainly of shops, dance clubs and over-priced bars.

A year later, in 1990, Disney opened Jessica’s (often mistakenly referred to as ‘Jessica’s of Hollywood’) on Pleasure Island. Jessica’s was a small shop originally billed as a lingerie store, although the majority of what was inside was actually Jessica Rabbit-themed souvenirs like t-shirts, magnets, beach towels, etc. A giant, neon Jessica – complete with slowly swinging leg – hung outside, immediately becoming a popular photo-op for theme park and animation fans. The sign was designed by comic book artist Mark Marderosian, who also designed much of the merchandise sold in the shop.

Sadly, Jessica’s didn’t last long. The shop closed in February of 1993, after only three years of operation. The neon Jessica was placed high atop the 'Pleasure Island Tonight!’ sign that hung above Pleasure Island, acting as the area’s visual 'weenie.’ The sign hung there until June 2006, when it was removed as part of a Disney-mandated 'clean-up’ of the area. Pleasure Island closed two years later, in September of 2008. In its place came Hyperion Wharf/Disney Springs, a safe, predictable, all-ages shopping and dining area.

R.I.P. semi-dangerous Disney, Jessica’s lingerie shop and the giant, sexy, neon Jessica Rabbit sign. You will be missed.

So this is the project that I’ve been immersing myself in for the last few months: The Underpinnings Museum!

The Underpinnings Museum is the first extensive online museum dedicated to showcasing and documenting the history of lingerie, through an exquisite selection of historical and contemporary objects. The museum will offer free access to all, with high-quality photography capturing the garments in exquisite detail. Each object will be accompanied by extensive contextual and technical information.

We are currently crowdfunding through Kickstarter to cover some of our set up costs.  If this is a project that you would like to see come to life then please give us your support!


Every artifact in our collection has a unique story from World War II and beyond. This ecru-colored silk peignoir, once a parachute for the US Army, has withstood a world war, a marriage, a precocious child, and Hurricane Katrina before entering the Museum’s collection in 2008.

Using parachute silk brought back from the war, a Syrian immigrant crafted this peignoir for her daughter who waited to marry her sweetheart until after the war because she refused the prospects of being a war widow.

Surviving a new life as a garment, this peignoir was beloved by its wearer and used for joyous dress up games by her child. During this time it sustained red lipstick stains and signs of wear.

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina’s high winds and waters destroyed the home in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi where the garment was being stored. It was found buried beneath a thick layer of dried, rust-colored mud where the home had stood.

Following the storm, this peignoir was cleaned up and given to the Museum’s collection to honor its maker Menna Abdelnour Lutife and to serve as a testament to the strength of the parachute silk used in World War II. This fabric safely landed our troops from the skies, survived the wears and tears of fashion, and weathered destruction of a hurricane. With its beauty and stains, it tells a story of war, love, and survival.

Gift of Patricia Saik, from the Collection of The National WWII Museum.


Take a mini-tour through the Museum at FIT exhibition Exposed: A History of Lingerie with curator Colleen Hill. On view June 3 – November 15, 2014 (Description Via Youtube)

Videos like this make me so happy