Enfilade

Exhibition | Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715–2015

Posted in books, exhibitions by Caitlin Smits on December 30, 2015

From LACMA:

Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715–2015 
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 10 April — 21 August 2016
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, 3 December 2016 — 12 March 2017
Saint Louis Art Museum, 25 May — 17 September 2017

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The Macaroni ensemble: Man’s Three-piece Suit, ca. 1770. Sword with Chatelaine, late 18th century. Men’s Pair of Shoe Buckles, late 18th century (LACMA)

Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715–2015 explores the history of men’s fashionable dress from the eighteenth century to the present and re-examines the all-too-frequent equation of ‘fashion’ with ‘femininity’.

Beginning with the eighteenth century, the male aristocrat wore a three-piece suit conspicuous in make and style, and equally as lavish as the opulent dress of his female counterpart. The nineteenth-century ‘dandy’ made famous a more refined brand of expensive elegance which became the hallmark of Savile Row. The mid-twentieth-century ‘mod’ relished in the colorful and modern styles of Carnaby Street, and the twenty-first century man—in an ultra-chic ‘skinny suit’ by day and a flowered tuxedo by night—redefines today’s concept of masculinity.

Drawing primarily from LACMA’s renowned permanent collection, Reigning Men makes illuminating connections between history and high fashion. The exhibition traces cultural influences over the centuries, examines how elements of the uniform have profoundly shaped fashionable dress, and reveals how cinching and padding the body was, and is, not exclusive to women. The exhibition features 200 looks, and celebrates a rich history of restraint and resplendence. 

This exhibition was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and made possible by Ellen A. Michelson. Additional support is provided by the Wallis Annenberg Director’s Endowment Fund.

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From Prestel:

Sharon Sadako Takeda, Kaye Durland Spilker, and Clarissa Esguerra, with contributions by Tim Blanks and Peter McNeil, Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715–2015 (New York: Prestel, 2016), 272 page, ISBN: 9783791355207, $55 / £35. 

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This fully illustrated book accompanies one of the most comprehensive exhibitions dedicated solely to three centuries of men’s fashion. The fashionable male may be making a comeback, but early fashion trends centered around what men—not women—were wearing. This intriguing book traces the history of men’s fashion since the 18th century, when young Englishmen imitated foreign dress and manners after touring the European continent. This phenomenon is only one of many explored in sections titled ‘Revolution/Evolution’, ‘East/West’, ‘Uniformity’, ‘Body Consciousness’, and ‘The Splendid Man’. In addition to numerous illustrations of extant menswear, the book captures the 19th-century dandy, a more restrained brand of expensive elegance which became the hallmark of Savile Row; the post-WWII mod, who relished the colorful styles of Carnaby Street; and the 21st-century man—ultra-chic in a sleek suit by day, wearing a flowered tuxedo by night. Reigning Men illuminates connections between history and high fashion, traces cultural influences over the centuries, examines how uniforms have profoundly shaped fashionable dress, and reveals that women aren’t the only ones who cinch and pad their bodies.

Sharon Sadako Takeda is Senior Curator and Head of the Costume and Textiles Department at the Los Angles County Museum of Art. Kaye Durland Spilker is Curator, and Clarissa Esguerra is Assistant Curator of the Costume and Textiles Department at the Los Angles County Museum of Art. They are the authors of Fashioning Fashion: European Culture in Detail, 1700–1915 (Prestel, 2010).

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Thomas John Bernard, . . . a theatrical costume designer, worked with the curators and conservators of the Costume and Textiles Department at LACMA to draw these patterns approximating the design of garments in the collection.

PDF documents with annotated patterns are available here»

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