Presented by the Saint Louis Art Museum | June 25—September 17, 2017
Main Exhibition Galleries, East Building
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, London's celebrated street of bespoke tailors. 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 the Los Angeles County Museum of Art'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 is not exclusive to women. The exhibition features over 150 looks, and celebrates a rich history of restraint and resplendence in menswear.
Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715-2015 was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The presentation at the Saint Louis Art Museum curated by Zoe A. Perkins, textile conservator and Genevieve Cortinovis, assistant curator of decorative arts and design. Financial assistance for the St. Louis presentation has been provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency. The project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.