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Fashioning Masculinities

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The Art of Menswear 

By Claire Wilcox, Rosalind McKever

At a moment of unprecedented creativity in men’s fashion, and continuing reflections on gender, contemporary designers are questioning established forms, seeking to liberate wearers from traditional models of masculine dress.

This book combines fashion with artistic and broader cultural histories – looking at the designers, tailors and artists who have constructed and performed masculinity from the Renaissance to the present day. It traces connections across and beyond European menswear, celebrating both rich traditions and daring individualists.

Divided into three parts, Undressed reveals the role of the body and underwear in fashioning masculinities. Overdressed explores the power dynamics of sartorial bravado, while Redressed deconstructs a modern masculine uniform: the black suit.

Featuring a staggering range of cultural touchstones from Hercules to Virgil Abloh, Giovanni Battista Moroni to Jawaharlal Nehru, Yves Saint Laurent to Kehinde Wiley, Marcus Rashford, Marlene Dietrich and even Captain America, Fashioning Masculinities challenges our preconceptions about menswear, revealing the fascinating historical roots beneath the power, artistry and diversity of masculine attire and appearance today.

Claire Wilcox is Senior Curator in the Department of Furniture, Textiles and Fashion at the V&A and Professor in Fashion Curation at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts, London.

Rosalind McKever is Curator of Paintings and Drawings at the V&A.

Victoria & Albert Museum, 2022, hardcover, 9.5 x 12.25 in, 272 pages.