Jul 11, 2017
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LACMA men's fashion exhibit heads to St. Louis

Jul 11, 2017

The Los Angeles County Art Museum (LACMA) has sent its exhibit on the history of menswear called "Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear" to the Saint Louis Art Museum.

Saint Louis Art Museum

The exhibit is curated into five different time periods. It aims to discuss not only the styles themselves, but the men who wore the fashions throughout historic periods in time. It begins with the French Revolution in a gallery called "Revolution/Evolution".

The highlight piece of the Revolution/Evolution gallery is an exaggerated zoot suit that pays tribute to cultural changes occurring in the 1930s and '40s. The pieces are curated to tell the story of rebellion and protest coming from the youth at that time.

The "East/West" gallery shows how cultural exchanges added to increased availability of materials used in fashion. The "Uniformity" gallery looks at uniforms including military and workwear.

Genny Cortinovis, Assistant Curator of decorative arts and design at the Saint Louis Art Museum, said the fifth gallery called "Body Consciousness" is the most provocative in the exhibit. It contains swimsuits and male thongs.

Cortinovis discussed how the gallery challenges the idea of the ideal male body and how it has evolved. She notes that in the 18th century, a round belly was desirable for a man because it showed he could eat well. In the 19th century, men aspired to have a tailored silhouette in an hourglass shape.

Cortinovis explains “In the 20th century it’s much more about the athletic look, maybe something we might associate with Olympians or even male models – a kind of triangular-shaped physique."

St. Louis is the second and last stop in the US for the exhibit. It is on display at the Saint Louis Art Museum now through September 17.


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