London’s V&A presents new major exhibition Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear

CELEBRATING the power and diversity of what modern masculinity, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum is celebrating menswear in their new major exhibition Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear.

Showcasing the evolution over the centuries and shining a light on designers, tailors and artists, the gallery is presenting 100 looks and 100 accompanying pieces of art sectioned across three galleries, Undressed, Overdressed and Redressed, along with a special finale.

V&A Exterior Fashioning MasculintiesV&A Exterior Fashioning Masculinties

The beginning of the exhibition, entitled Undressed explores the male body and underwear, uncovering how classical European ideals changed over the course of history.

Displaying casts of the Apollo Belvedere to highlight idealism in tradition with more contemporary prints and photographs from the likes of David Hockney and Isaac Julien, the two align linking the past with the present. Ensembles from Virgil Abloh’s Off-White and Ludovic de Saint Sernin also sit alongside supporting the changing of ideals.

Fashioning MasculinitiesInstallation view of Fashioning Masculinities at Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The middle section, Overdressed, delves into the masculine wardrobe, looking into the oversized silhouette, lavish materials and daring patterns that express status. Drawing similarities across centuries, an in-depth look into symbolism is at the centre of this part.

Redressed, the final room of this exhibition, reflects the country’s knack for tailoring with our modern circulation of seasonal runway collections, presenting the relationship between tradition and modernity.

Designs from Tom Ford, Hedi Slimane and Donatella Versace are mixed among pieces from Beau Brummell and Nicholas Daley, proving there is not one answer for how to fashion masculinity.

Fashioning Masculinities - Alessandro Michele for Gucci - Gucci Tailoring 2019 (2)An ensemble worn by Harry Styles, by Alessandro Michele for Gucci Tailoring 2019

Alessandro Michele for Gucci gown and tailored jacket, worn by Harry Styles on Vogue US (cover December 2020)

Accumulating to present a celebratory ending, the last part of this exhibition has three special gowns, a Christian Siriano tuxedo worn by Billy Porter, a custom Gucci suit made for Harry Styles and an Ella Lynch wedding dress originally seen on Bimini Bon Boulash, as well as a commissioned film by London-based Quentin Jones.

With a history of noteworthy curated fashion exhibitions at the V&A, Fashioning Masculinities is not one to miss.

by Imogen Clark 

Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear is on until  November 6, 2022. Tickets available here