LGBTQIA+ Icons Who Have Shaped Lingerie History

LGBTQIA+ Icons Who Have Shaped Lingerie History

This Pride Month we’re celebrating the LGBTQIA+ kings, queens and icons who have sashayed through lingerie history, breaking down barriers to make the industry more inclusive. Without their contributions, who knows what the scene would look like today?

Lingerie has come a long way... Once upon a time, it was all about “covering up,” but now, lingerie is made to be seen, celebrated and shown off. It’s no longer reserved for one body type or gender, and we’re living in a fabulous era of diversity. Lingerie has blossomed to become a vibrant form of personal expression for anyone who wants to wear it.

While the industry is still evolving, brands are expanding their ranges to be more inclusive, catering to a wider and more diverse audience regardless of shape, size, disability, gender or sexuality, so that anyone can look fabulous and feel sexy and confident in lingerie!

LGBTQIA+ icons and allies who’ve shaped lingerie history

Throughout history, lingerie has helped LGBTQIA+ icons and allies to transcend heteronormative boundaries and reshape ideals of gender and sexuality.

Here are some of our favourites who’ve used lingerie to pave the way for a more inclusive future. They’ve reconstructed longstanding fashion trends and changed perceptions within the industry for the better.

April Ashley

April Ashley MBE (born George Ashley in 1935) was one of the first people in the UK to undergo gender reassignment surgery. After self-funding her surgery, she became an in-demand lingerie model of the 60’s, working with renowned photographer David Bailey for British Vogue. Sadly she faced widespread scrutiny when she was outed as transgender, and her public divorce trial ruled her as a biological man. With her modelling career halted, she went on to become a prominent activist for transgender rights. In 2012, April was awarded an MBE for her services to transgender equality. Her work undoubtedly challenged preconceived notions of femininity and sex symbolism in the lingerie industry and beyond.

Jean Paul Gaultier

The innovative and openly gay French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier is known for his eccentric designs that mould the body through unconventional shapes and materials. No garment is as synonymous with Gaultier’s subversive designs than the corset, which he reimagined as a garment of rebellious liberation rather than suppression. On her 1990 Blond Ambition tour, Madonna brought Gaultier’s iconic conical bra into the limelight (Gaultier actually admits to creating his first iteration of this on a childhood teddy bear!) After this iconic design catalysed lingerie as outerwear, Gaultier launched his first lingerie collection in 2010. This collaboration with La Perla featured 27 styles that included corsets, bodysuits, and bras – including the conical bra!


Aside from the 1990 iconic lingerie moment in Gaultier’s pink conical bra corset, Madonna has shown herself to be a formidable ally to the LGBTQIA+ community in many other ways. She has consistently advocated for the community, raising awareness on important LGBTQIA+ issues. She was one of the first notable celebrities to speak out about the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, and her song ‘Vogue’ introduced the voguing style of dance into the mainstream – a style created by the black and brown trans and gay communities. Madonna continues to incorporate her signature corset look into her style, such as at the 2024 Grammy Awards where she expressed her admiration for the fearlessness of LGBTQIA+ signers Kim Petras and Sam Smith.

Carmen Liu

Carmen Liu is an entrepreneurial transgender woman and fashion designer who creates lingerie designed for transgender and non-binary people. She is one of the world’s most notable LGBTQIA+ lingerie designers and was the first in the UK to design flattening and tucking underwear. The brand also sells unisex briefs and thongs, as well as bras and bralettes. Carmen Lui’s designs promote equality within the lingerie space, reshaping traditional silhouettes through inclusive and purposeful design. They support gender expression by addressing the specific needs within the transgender and nonbinary communities that mainstream brands often overlook.

Roman Sipe

Roman Sipe is a stylist and designer who founded the men’s lingerie brand Menagerie Intimates and works as the creative director of men’s lingerie for the Italian lingerie brand Cosabella. Sipe is known as a pioneer in the men’s underwear industry, helping to change the discourse on gender-specific lingerie by introducing a new era of underwear for men. Sipe designs underwear for men that combine styles and materials traditionally reserved for women’s lingerie. His designs help to challenge and expand society’s perception of masculinity and fashion, encouraging inclusivity and diversity within the lingerie industry and advocating for freedom of expression regardless of gender.

Violet Chachki

Violet Chachki is a drag queen best known for winning Season 7 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Known for her glamorous, vintage-inspired style, Violet has successfully moved from drag performer to mainstream model since winning the show. Her style challenges the traditional notions of beauty and gender within the lingerie industry and helps to promote more inclusive and diverse representation. In 2017, she became the face of lingerie brand Playful Promises, making her one of the first drag queens to star in a major lingerie campaign.


Singer, actress, and entrepreneur Rihanna has always been an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community. Over the years, she’s spoken out against anti-LGBTQIA+ laws, donated to LGBTQIA+ charities, and promoted inclusive business practices to help champion equality and rights for the LGBTQIA+ community. Her lingerie brand Savage X Fenty helped to revolutionise the lingerie industry with its inclusive and body-positive message and designs. The brand celebrates all body types and gender identities and offers a diverse range of sizes and styles. Rihanna’s fashion shows are renowned for featuring a diverse range of models, including transgender models. She uses her lingerie brand to set a new standard for inclusivity, challenge traditional norms, and promote acceptance within the industry.

Strut your stuff in Scarlett Gasque

This pride month, we’re rolling out the rainbow carpet so that you can strut your stuff in Scarlett Gasque lingerie. Our intimates are available in a wide range of styles and sizes to suit different body types. Celebrate your unique self, be bold, be you, and let’s keep pushing the boundaries together! Shop our range of timeless, luxury lingerie and corsets now to find your perfect match.

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