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Menswear to be focus of major V&A exhibition – including outfits worn by Harry Styles and David Bowie

Menswear through the ages will be the focus of a major new exhibition at the V&A museum.

Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear will “celebrate the power, artistry and diversity of masculine attire and appearance”, curators said.

The exhibition, opening in March 2022, will look at how men’s fashion has developed over the centuries and how designers, tailors and artists have influenced its evolution.

Portrait of Prince Alessandro Farnese (1545-1592), c.1560. A young Italian prince in a fine embroidered cloak and hat. Wearing a doublet and hose.

Outfits worn by stars including Harry Styles, Billy Porter Sam Smith and David Bowie will feature, according to curators.

And the exhibition will present a diverse look at men’s fashion to “highlight and celebrate the multiplicities of masculine sartorial self-expression, dressing beyond the binary”.

Wool coat and trousers, and silk top hat, United States, 1845-1853. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2)

Fashioning Masculinities will present around 100 looks and 100 artworks, displayed “thematically” across three galleries, the V&A said.

They include classical sculptures and Renaissance paintings as well as fashion pieces by the likes of Gucci, Harris Reed Grace Wales Bonner and Raf Simons.

An outfit worn by Sam Smith featuring in Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear (Alasdair McLellan/V&A)

(PA Media)

Claire Wilcox and Rosalind McKever, co-curators of Fashioning Masculinities, said: “Masculine fashion is enjoying a period of unprecedented creativity.

“It has long been a powerful mechanism for encouraging conformity or expressing individuality.

A Flower Boy two-piece set which was part of Orange Culture’s Autumn Winter 2020, collection (Orange Culture/V&A)

(PA Media)

“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.”

An outfit worn by Harris Reed which will feature in the museum’s Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear exhibition (Giovanni Corabi/V&A)

(PA Media)

The three main galleries for Fashioning Masculinities are Undressed, Overdressed and Redressed, which will explore different aspects of menswear.

Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear will run from March 19 – November 6 2022. 

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