The Fashioning Masculinities: The Art Of Menswear exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London is an extravagant experience for the eyes. As I entered into the expansive space I thought it might be a combined male and female fashion exhibition, such was the diversity of the designs. Although thinking back on fashion a couple of centuries ago, perhaps menswear has just come full circle for the male fashionistas of 2022; I was walking in the middle of a Georgette Heyer novelette.
The exhibition is on until Sunday, 6 November 2022 and is definitely worth viewing, especially if you are a fashion student. It’s impeccably researched and collated and the garments are displayed so that you can see the intricate details clearly. I visited on a Friday afternoon at 4:30pm and it was busy, especially since the V&A has started its Friday Late evenings again. So I would try and avoid the weekends if possible.
A Slight Chagrin
If there is something I have a slight chagrin about the exhibition, and a few others I have seen in Australia, is that I do wish the V&A had placed mirrored floors in the display stands so we could see underneath some of the stunning garments on the mannequins.
I found myself kneeling on the floor to try and look up inside the garments. A few people around me agreed as I explained what I was trying to do!
When I visited the Madeleine Vionnet exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris 2012 some of the displays had mirrored floors, you were able to see under the garments and look up at the amazing workmanship inside. There were also some of the original patterns laid out, it was magic to see.
Coming from a couture fashion background and being a Patterncutter it is just as interesting to see how the garments are made inside, it’s as important as the shell. The whole process involves a dedicated team of people who love their craft and I think it is important to show their skills.
It’s rather like a beautiful film with the credits at the end, when they get cut off on YouTube or television, it’s depreciative towards the people who worked on it.
I am sure a lot of people from the fashion industry, and film, would agree with me.
What do you think, would you agree?
3 Other Wonderful Exhibitions at the V&A
The V&A has some outstanding permanent exhibitions of which the Stained Glass, Architecture and Ceramics are only three of them. These are free to visit and so worth the time to explore but it will take that…time. They are extensive and as you go from room to room your head will explode with the gorgeous artistry all around you. If you are a ‘creative’ this museum is one of the most inspirational places to visit and revive your soul.
Like a lot of the large well known museums of the world you have to go early if you want to visit every exhibition that is incorporated within its premises. Flat shoes and the inevitable coffee breaks are a must and the V&A is certainly no exception except…take out a bank loan if you want to eat in the café or take your own snacks. The food is delicious but it is certainly one of the more expensive museums to eat in, it gets absolutely packed around lunch time with long queues. On sunny days you can sit outside in the gorgeous courtyard but there is not a lot of table seating available.
London, like Paris, is a thoroughly enjoyable and walkable city so if you are able to, do exactly that, walk and avoid the tube. Buses are inexpensive and great for sightseeing as well but walking is definitely the best. The V&A is situated on the corner of Cromwell and Exhibition Roads and I enjoyed a wonderful 30 min stroll through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, past beautiful Kensington Palace back to Paddington Train Station for my train home. It really lifted my spirits to watch people playing with their dogs, families enjoying picnics relaxing in the late afternoon sunshine and crows swooping down out of the trees to pick up the food people had thrown on the ground for them.
You don’t see this travelling on 4 wheels or the underground.