Reigning Men

Reigning Men: About

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. 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 LACMA’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 was, and is, not exclusive to women. The exhibition features 200 looks, and celebrates a rich history of restraint and resplendence in menswear.

This is a specially ticketed exhibition. Join now and see it free. 

This exhibition was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and made possible by Ellen A. Michelson.
 
This exhibition is sponsored by:       
 
Additional support is provided by the Wallis Annenberg Director's Endowment Fund. Funding is also provided by Eugene Sadovoy.

All exhibitions at LACMA are underwritten by the LACMA Exhibition Fund. Major annual support is provided by Kitzia and Richard Goodman, with generous annual funding from Janet Chann and Michael Irwin in memory of George Chann, Louise and Brad Edgerton, Edgerton Foundation, Emily and Teddy Greenspan, Jenna and Jason Grosfeld, Lenore and Richard Wayne, and the Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation.

Image: Macaroni Ensemble: Suit, c. 1770, Costume Council Fund; Waistcoat, c. 1770, purchased with funds provided by Suzanne A. Saperstein and Michael and Ellen Michelson, with additional funding from the Costume Council, the Edgerton Foundation, Gail and Gerald Oppenheimer, Maureen H. Shapiro, Grace Tsao, and Lenore and Richard Wayne; Sword with Chatelaine, late 18th century, gift of Mary H. and Martin B. Retting; photo © LACMA.
 

 

Reigning Men: HIghlights

Suit
Italy, c. 1770
Costume Council Fund
M.83.200.1a, c

Waistcoat
France, c. 1770
Purchased with funds provided by Suzanne A. Saperstein and Michael and Ellen Michelson, with additional funding from the Costume Council, the Edgerton Foundation, Gail and Gerald Oppenheimer, Maureen H. Shapiro, Grace Tsao, and Lenore and Richard Wayne
M.2007.211.688a

Sword with Sheath
France, late 18th century
Gift of Mary H. and Martin B. Retting M.85.85.3a–c

Walter Van Beirendonck
Belgium, born 1957
Ensemble from the "Revolution" collection
Fall/Winter 2000--2001
Gift of Walter Van Beirendonck
M.2014.87.5a--f

Helmut Lang
Austria, born 1956, active France and United States
Ensemble (detail)
Spring/Summer 2004
Gift of HL-ART
M.2009.116.7.1--.3

I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet
England, 1966--77
Shirt
1966--67
Gift of Thomas Anthony Buckley
M.2012.5.18

Bill Blass
United States, 1922--2002
for Pincus Brothers Maxwell (PBM)
United States, 1911--2004
Trousers
1967--68
Gift of Thomas Anthony Buckley
M.2012.5.17

Zoot Suit
United States, 1940--42
Purchased with funds provided by Ellen A. Michelson
M.2011.94a--b

Necktie (Belly-warmer)
United States, c. 1945
Gift of Stephen J. and Sandra Sotnick
M.2014.280.39

Shoes (Spectators)
United States, 1935--42
Gift of Mrs. Carl W. Barrow
M.86.39.12a--b

At-home Robe (Banyan) with Matching Waistcoat
France, 1720s
Costume Council Fund
M.2010.90a--b

At-home Cap
England, c. 1715
Purchased with funds provided by Suzanne A. Saperstein and Michael and Ellen Michelson, with additional funding from the Costume Council, the Edgerton Foundation, Gail and Gerald Oppenheimer, Maureen H. Shapiro, Grace Tsao, and Lenore and Richard Wayne
M.2007.211.825

Lounge Suit (detail)
India for the European market, 1860s
Purchased with funds provided by Suzanne A. Saperstein and Michael and Ellen Michelson, with additional funding from the Costume Council, the Edgerton Foundation, Gail and Gerald Oppenheimer, Maureen H. Shapiro, Grace Tsao, and Lenore and Richard Wayne
M.2007.211.810a--b

Dries Van Noten
Belgium, born 1958
Ensemble
Fall/Winter 2013--14
Gift of Dries Van Noten Archives
M.2014.11a--e

Overcoat (Tonbi)
Japan, Taishō period (1912--26) to Shōwa period (1926--89), 1925--35
Gift of B. Rich
M.2012.188.200

Kimono
Japan, Taishō period (1912--26) to Shōwa period (1926--89), 1925--35
Estate of Fred Gilbert Blakeslee
43.20.3

Hat (Homburg)
England for the Japanese market, 1930--40
Gift of Mrs. Josef von Sternberg
M.76.170.12

Musashiya
Hawaii territory, active 20th century
Shirt
1952
Gift of Mrs. Carl W. Barrow
M.87.41.1

Naval Uniform Ensemble
England, c. 1820
Purchased with funds provided by Michael and Ellen Michelson
M.2010.33.12--.13

Sailor Top (Jumper)
United States, 1860s--70s
Costume Council Fund
M.2013.155.3

Kean Etro
Italy, born 1964
for Etro
Italy, founded 1968
Ensemble
Fall/Winter 2014--15
Gift of Etro
M.2014.219.2a--l

Suit
Europe, c. 1915
Purchased with funds provided by Michael and Ellen Michelson
M.2010.33.10a--b

Boots
United States, 1910--20
Purchased with funds provided by James A. and Mary Jaene Edmonds
M.90.58.3a--b

Hat (Boater)
United States, 1915--25
Costume Council Fund
M.87.241.11

Full-dress Ensemble
United States, c. 1935
Gift of Thomas Anthony Buckley
M.2012.5.9a--b

Top Hat
England for the American market, early 20th century
Gift of Mrs. Frederick Sturdy
M.73.31

Walking Stick
France, early 20th century
Gift of Mary H. and Martin B. Retting
M.85.85.48

Tail Coat
England, c. 1840
Wool plain weave, full finish
Purchased with funds provided by Suzanne A. Saperstein and Michael and Ellen Michelson, with additional funding from the Costume Council, the Edgerton Foundation, Gail and Gerald Oppenheimer, Maureen H. Shapiro, Grace Tsao, and Lenore and Richard Wayne
M.2007.211.807

Trousers
England, c. 1840
Costume Council Fund
M.59.24.2c

Shoes (Derby)
United States, mid-19th century
Costume Council Curatorial Discretionary Fund
M.91.29a--b

Tail Coat
United States, c. 1825
Costume Council Curatorial Discretionary Fund
AC1992.17.3

Rudi Gernreich
Austria, 1922--1985, active United States
for Bob Cunningham
United States, active 20th century
"The Thong" Swimsuit
1974
Purchased with funds provided by Michael and Ellen Michelson
M.2010.33.18

Marithé Girbaud
France, born 1942
and François Girbaud
France, born 1945
for Marithé + François Girbaud
France, founded 1965
"Pampers Denim" Underwear
Spring/Summer 2006
Gift of Marithé + François Girbaud
M.2009.134.3

France, born 1952
Lounging Suit from the "Pin-Up Boys" collection (detail)
Spring/Summer 1996
Purchased with funds provided by Louise and Brad Edgerton, Edgerton Foundation
M.2014.9a--b

Johnson Hartig
United States, born 1962
for Libertine
United States, founded 2001
Ensemble (detail)
Fall/Winter 2012--13
Gift of Johnson Hartig
M.2013.93.2a--d

Coat
France, c. 1800
Gift of B. Rich
M.2012.188.179

Jeremy Scott
United States, born
1975
for Adidas
Germany, founded 1949
"JS Wings 3.0"
High-top Sneaker
Spring/Summer 2015
Gift of Jeremy Scott
M.2015.154.1a-b

Walter Van Beirendonck
Belgium, born 1957
Ensemble from the "Shut Your Eyes to See" collection
Fall/Winter 2013--14
Gift of Walter Van Beirendonck
M.2014.87.2a--i

Ahmed Abdelrahman
United Arab Emirates, born 1985
for Thamanyah
France, founded 2011
Deconstructed Kandora
Fall/Winter 2012--13
Costume Council Fund
M.2013.160

Mark Mahoney
United States, born 1957
Tattoo
2015
Gift of Mark Mahoney, Shamrock Social Club Inc.

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Reigning Men: Video

Go behind-the-scenes as curators at LACMA undertake the painstaking process of dressing the mannequins for Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715-2015.