Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) is the world’s largest museum of applied arts, decorative arts, and design based in London. It was founded in 1852, and is named after the Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It is the host to a permanent collection of 2.27 million objects.

V&A Museum, London

On the 19th March, the museum is celebrating menswear through power, artistry, and diversity of men’s attire and appearance. The collection focuses on the evolution of menswear through the centuries from the Renaissance to the global contemporary. There should be 100 looks alongside 100 artworks for the audience to gaze upon.

Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear has been created in partnership with Gucci. Alessandro Michele became the brand’s creative director in 2015, and has been determined to make fashion more gender neutral, and eradicate toxic masculinity when it comes to fashion.

The exhibition is to be split into three sections: Underdressed, Overdressed, and Redressed.

What’s included?

The exhibition will host a range of work, from a range of artists. These include looks from Versace, Calvin Klein, Martine Rose, Gucci, and Harris Reed. Along with these looks will be artwork and paintings from Joshua Reynolds, Sofonisba Anguissola, and David Hockney.

The 3 divided sections: Underdressed, Overdressed, and Redressed, will highlight different aspects of menswear and it’s evolution.

One of the exhibition’s curators, stated the show is not chronological, and they have juxtaposed the past with the present to show the parallels in the way men have dressed.

Left: Harris Reed fluid romanticism 001, photographed by Giovanni Corabi. Right: Portrait of Charles Coote, by Joshua Reynolds


Underdressed, the first gallery, focuses on the male bode and underwear. It looks into and questions how masculinity has been perpetuated and challenged through the centuries from European ideals. The work is juxtaposed against each other, with plaster casts of the Apollo Belvedere and the Farnese Hermes against fashion by Jean-Paul Gaultier.


Left: Autumn Winter 2020 Flower Boy two-piece set, by Orange Culture, photographed by Mikey Oshai. Right: Coat, waistcoat and breeches held at Victoria and Albert Museum

The second gallery: Overdressed, focuses on status, wealth, and individuality. This means oversized silhouettes, silks and velvets, and symbolic patterns. Artists included in this section are Rahemur Rahman and Kim Jones, who highlight the elite masculine wardrobe and how fashion has evolved.


Alessandro Michele for Gucci

The final gallery, Redressed, highlights military attire influencing the civilian dress sense. It also touches upon origins of the suit and English country tailoring. It mainly includes extensive photography and and paintings from Oscar Wilde, Claude Cahun and Cecil Beaton.

Get your tickets for the exhibition below:

By Emma Foakes