Opening next March, the blockbuster exhibition will trace how menswear has been fashioned and refashioned over the centuries
It’s fair to say that investigations into the cultural evolution of menswear have been few and far between, even forgotten, in comparison to those of its feminine counterpart. The V&A Museum however, has decided it’s high time to delve into the fascinating history of masculine dress, announcing a major new show that will explore menswear’s “power, artistry and diversity”. Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear will explore the ways in which designers, tailors and artists have constructed and performed masculinity, “and unpicked it at the seams” through the centuries. It will celebrate a breadth of masculine self-expression and dressing beyond the binary.
Opening in March 2022, the blockbuster exhibition promises 100 looks and 100 artworks spread thematically across three gallery spaces. Alongside historical treasures from the museum’s archives and classical sculptures, Renaissance paintings, photography and film, the show will display landmark creations by legendary designers and emerging stars like Craig Green, Gucci, Grace Wales Bonner, and Raf Simons. The show will also display iconic outfits worn by cultural figures such as David Bowie, Marlene Dietrich, Harry Styles, and Billy Porter, and contemporary artworks and photography by the likes of Sofonisba Anguissola, Joshua Reynolds, Robert Longo and Omar Victor Diop.
“Masculine fashion is enjoying a period of unprecedented creativity,” say Claire Wilcox and Rosalind McKever, co-curators of Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear. “It has long been a powerful mechanism for encouraging conformity or expressing individuality. Rather than a linear or definitive history, this is a journey across time and gender. The exhibition will bring together historical and contemporary looks with art that reveals how masculinity has been performed. This will be a celebration of the masculine wardrobe, and everyone is invited to join in.”
Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear will be at the V&A Museum from 19 March – 6 November 2022.