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2 years ago, by Voir Editorial Team ‘Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear’: Gucci’s Exhibition at the V&A

2 years ago, by Voir Editorial Team

‘Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear’: Gucci’s Exhibition at the V&A

Gucci honours men’s fashion in the Albert and Victoria museum’s first exhibition dedicated to artistry and diversity of masculine attire and appearance. The Italian fashion luxury house sponsored the museum’s first major exhibition on menswear fashion titled, “Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear”. The show traces how menswear has been fashioned and refashioned over the centuries, and how designers, tailors, artists, and their clients have constructed and performed masculinity, and unpicked it at the seams. A not to be missed exhibition also co-curated by the London College of Fashion.

After opening a café and a cocktail bar in Florence, Gucci is at the heart of a new initiative, more cultural than gustatory. The Italian fashion house has joined forces with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to create an exhibition that traces the history of men’s clothing. A theme less highlighted than its female counterpart, but which nevertheless implies centuries of inspiration and creative innovation. 

Installation view of ‘Fashioning Masculinities’ at the V&A, featuring Alessandro Michele for Gucci look worn by Harry Styles. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

“I hate the word unisex,” said  Gucci’s artistic director Alessandro Michele in a talk with Alexander Fury on Monday night at the Victoria & Albert Museum. His line of work at Gucci has never been about making unisex clothes. Michele revealed that when it comes to starting a collection he always starts with a suit, which has traditionally been a constraint but is now one of his main inspirations. The collaboration between the iconic fashion designer and the men’s fashion exhibition is, therefore, a natural fit.

On the program: sculptures, paintings, photographs, films, performances, archive pieces… In three routes, a hundred or so works of art will be exhibited alongside several dozen silhouettes by contemporary designers.

The first part of the presentation, “Undressed”, explores the male body and undergarments through a look at the standards of beauty that have been challenged over the centuries.

In the second gallery, “Overdressed” the exhibition focus on the elite male wardrobe, recognizable by its luxurious pieces, an expression of a certain social status, a position of power, and individuality. Armoured suits, dinner jackets, make-up, ribbons, and lace… The tour puts the opulent aesthetic of past centuries into perspective, evolving into modern designs, from Kim Jones to Harris Reed.

Harris Reed Fluid Romanticism 001. Courtesy Harris Reed. Photo: Giovanni Corab

Finally, the third and last circuit “Redressed” highlights the origins of the costume, with more sober silhouettes that contrast with the flamboyance of the previous circuit. It features historical garments, such as the archives of 18th-century English couture, contemporary reinterpretations, and numerous photographs of celebrities, from Oscar Wilde to the Beatles to Sam Smith. It is also an opportunity to discover the influence of military dress on the civilian silhouette.

“Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear – in partnership with Gucci will be hosted at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London from 19 March to 6 November 2022.

Words by Melodie Bitala-Samba

Header image: Victoria and Albert Museum, London


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