Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear Exhibition @ Victoria & Albert Museum

Written by Nadia A. 

This much anticipated exhibition was unveiled in March and showcases a variety of opulent menswear from over the centuries across the world featuring designers from Gautier to Harris Reed.


Randi Rahm - Suit and Cloak 

It was so good to be in an exhibition space once again, as this was our first visit back to the V&A since the pandemic began. It was a warm welcome through the Exhibition Road entrance and downstairs to the Sainsbury Gallery where we would embark on a fashion feast for the eyes. Co-curated by Claire Wilcox and Rosalind McKever, you follow the journey of menswear from then until now, through different clothing themed rooms.


As you enter, a showcase of undergarments and the history of how it came about is what is seen first. It was very intriguing seeing all the familiar examples interwoven with ancient Greek and Roman statues that the idea of every day underwear initially came from.

Jennie Baptiste - Brixton Boyz 

Jean-Paul Gaultier - Trompe L'oeil Body Suit Jacket 


The next room was full of outfits donned by men over the years that have been considered flamboyant in the past. This section was definitely a firm favourite as viewing all the different styles in one place and seeing some of the less practical stuff that was worn in everyday life was very refreshing. 


Harris Reed - Ensemble, Thom Browne - Ensemble, PRONOUNCE - Suit & Hat 


Kehinde Wiley - Alexander Cassett Portrait 

"At a moment of unprecedented creativity in men's fashion and reflection on gender, this exhibition explores how designers, tailors and artists – and their clients and sitters – have constructed and performed masculinity, and unpicked it at the seams." - V&A   


Omar Victor Diop - Jean-Baptiste Belley Print


The final section paid homage to tailored suits and top hats as well as touching on some modern day street-style takes by Versace and Tom Ford. 


Dior Homme - Ensemble, Versace - Ensemble, Maison Margiela - Ensemble  

To top off the exhibition, the last walk through a mirrored room encapsulated dance, sound and vision with some very famous pieces worn on red carpets as the centrepiece, including the dress designed by Christian Siriano worn by Billy Porter at the 2019 Oscars. Seems like the right way to end the exhibition with a mic drop!


Christian Siriano - Dress

Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear is on until 6 November 2022 at the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington