St. Louis, MO
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 18th 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 19th-century "dandy" made famous a more refined brand of expensive elegance which became the hallmark of Savile Row, London's celebrated street of bespoke tailors. The mid-twentieth-century "mod" relished in the colorful and modern styles of Carnaby Street, and the 21st 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 the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's renowned 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 is not exclusive to women. The exhibition features over 150 looks, and celebrates a rich history of restraint and resplendence in menswear.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website
Whether or not you go, Reigning Men: Fashion In Menswear, 1715–2015 is a must. 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. Beautifully produced and lavishly illustrated, this eye-opening book will certainly appeal to men and women alike.