Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715 – 2015
April 10 – August 21, 2016
Broad Contemporary Art Museum, Level 2
This is a specially ticketed exhibition.
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. 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 LACMA’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 was, and is, not exclusive to women.
The exhibition features 200 looks, and celebrates a rich history of restraint and resplendence in menswear.
The 300-year of men’s fashion history exhibition includes Japanese Designers display at the EAST/WEST theme gallery along with Smoking and Leisure, and Cultural Intersections displays.
In Japanese Designers corner, viewers can look at how leaders in Japanese fashion design have referenced their Eastern heritage in making avant–garde Western style. Today, they are joined by a growing number of designers who are defying geographic boundaries and traditional clothing conventions in their quest to create innovative fashion.
Scotland’s Inverness cape, a sleeveless overcoat with an attached cape, was introduced to Japan in the 19th century, where it was modified with enlarged armholes to accommodate the sleeves of a kimono. Popularly known as tonbi (black hawk), the overcoats were made of imported wool and were fashionable during the early twentieth century among intellectuals, professionals, and the wealthy, who often added a Western-style hat and walking stick or umbrella to their kimono ensemble.
In June 1935, the first advertisement for an “Aloha shirt” was placed in a Honolulu newspaper by Musa Shiya the Shirt Maker, later known as Musashiya. Considered one of the first makers of the Aloha shirt – later known simply as a Hawaiian shirt – Musahiya produced made-to-order and ready-made shirts from repurposed kimono fabric and printed cloth from Japan.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Japanese designers such as Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo, and Yohji Yamamoto challenged traditional principles of Western fashionable dress. Clothing that emphasized the space between body and garment often characterized the early work of these avant-garde designers.
Kansai Yamamoto often utilizes eye-catching patterns and bold colors by blending traditional Japanese art and design with Western fashion.