Did cancan dancers at the Moulin Rouge wear underwear?

OK, I’ve got a beer riding on this, and I say the cancan dancers covered their privates. Granted, maybe occasionally, some gal forgot to wear her underwear but in general, were their genitals exposed or not?

No, but they had some great panties to show off. And those legs. And boobies.

Darth Nader. This is General Questions. Can you give any factual basis for your assertion?

Please don’t do this.

samclem GQ moderator

From Wiki (emphasis mine):

The underwear most women wore in those days had an open crotch, so one didn’t have to remove one’s underwear to use the chamber pot.

So, while dancing the can-can, one would certainly show one’s undies, and if the fabric pulled or folded, a glimpse of the naughties.

Fascinating! I’ll have to reconfigure my bet to ensure that I win it. I’m sort of wondering though, if ones genitals and anus are exposed, what was the purpose of underwear, unless ones buttocks were somehow more unseemly than the orifices.

I think a better (or additional) question is whether cancan dancers in the Old West (U.S.) wore panties. Somewhere I heard that they didn’t except in the TV episodes of Rawhide and Gunsmoke.

I was thinking about Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, but fuck it…if you are just going to get pissy…

Could that be how it got the name Rawhide?

Then what was the point of wearing them?

Same reason you wear them now: to protect your more expensive outer garments from sweat and grime. Open crotch doesn’t mean no crotch. there was still material there, it just wasn’t sewn together.

And consequently, Gunsmoke.

David Price authored a history of the cancan. It appears that the raised skirts were a later addition, specifically connected with the fashion for frilly underwear in the 1890s.