Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear at the V&A

Written on 11 April 2022 by Courtney Manton in London


From Regency dandy, Beau Brummell to Harry Styles on the cover of Vogue, the V&A’s latest exhibition traces the evolution of menswear in all its diverse artistry.

men's fashion V&A

Over four rooms – undressed, overdressed, redressed and dressed – the show features more than 100 menswear looks, with original garments as well as paintings, sculpture, photography and film clips.

Undressed explores the male body and underwear, from classical sculpture to the adverts of Calvin Klein and the structured creations of Jean Paul Gaultier.

Overdressed is all about courtly grandeur, featuring the elaborate silhouettes and sumptuous materials of men who dressed to impress down the ages. There’s everything from armoured breastplates to silk smoking suits and a yellow 1960s jacket from Carnaby Street.

Redressed focuses on that perennial item of menswear, the suit and its evolution – from Beau Brummell to the present day, via the Mods and Teddy Boys of the 20th century.

The show-stopping finale room includes three iconic gowns; Billy Porter’s tuxedo dress, which created a sensation at the 2019 Oscars; the Gucci gown and tailored jacket made for Harry Styles’ Vogue appearance and the wedding dress worn by Bimini Bon Boulash on Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Also on display is the sequinned Haider Ackermann suit worn by Timothée Chalamet for the Dune premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

According to curators Claire Wilcox and Rosalind McKever: “The exhibition brings together historical and contemporary looks with art that reveals how masculinity has been performed. This is a celebration of the masculine wardrobe, and everyone is invited to join in.”

You can catch the exhibition until 6 November 2022 – find out more on the V&A website.

Courtney Manton

Courtney is a Chartered Surveyor, the senior partner and owner of the Best Gapp group.

His special talent honed over the last 30 years is winning. Winning for his many clients.

Winning a Leasehold Enfranchisement case, winning a negotiation to sell or buy, winning a lower rent at review, winning a planning permission to enhance value, winning trust.

All articles by Courtney Manton

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