From the 18th century to “Mad Men” to modern times, from fur coats to undergarments – a new exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art breaks new ground with “Reigning Men.” The collection shines the spotlight on notable men’s fashion trends over the past three centuries.
“To some people men’s fashion is counter-intuitive, but when you come to this show it makes a world of sense,” said Michel Govan, executive in charge of LACMA. “When you see how that’s been carried forward in the corners of our design world it’s just amazingly fascinating.”
Martin Kamer started out as a costume and set designer and collected many of these pieces. LACMA acquired the collection and 90 percent of the pieces are from the museum’s own archives.
“People believe men’s fashion is really quite dull,” Kamer said. “It isn’t. It’s very interesting and it’s very vibrant.”
From the colors and textures of the 1700s, to an authentic 1940s Zoot Suit, to an early day version of men’s “spanx,” about 200 ensembles make up the display. Half of the outfits are historic, and the other half is contemporary.
“There was a specific point to this show to not be chronological, to see how contemporary designers are being influenced from the past and how there is this back and forth – that men’s fashion is very much alive” Govan said. “We’re actually in a moment, it seems, of a kind of Renaissance in interest in men’s fashion.”
The exhibit opens to the public Sunday and runs through the summer.