This week I visited the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to see the exhibit Reigning Men. It's easy to fall in love with beautiful flouncing dresses, but this show demonstrates there is a whole world of exciting men’s wear just waiting to be discovered. Handsome men’s tail coats, leather clad punks and elaborately embroidered frock coats are so exciting to see in person. Reigning Men covers men’s fashion from 1715 to modern day and has many stellar pieces not typically seen in museums.
In addition to viewing the exhibit, I attended a special event for the two L.A costume unions—Local 705 Motion Picture Costumers and Local 892 The Costume Designers Guild. Curator Sharon Sadako Takeda discussed how the collection came together over the course of five years, starting with acquiring a clothing collection of womens, mens and childrens historical pieces that became the show Fashioning Fashion. There was such a large amount of men’s clothing in the collection that Takeda and her team started planning Reigning Men shortly thereafter. Exhibiting men’s fashion is rare, especially such a large variety covering many centuries to present day.
Another special treat was a discussion with exhibit wig maker and fellow 705 member, Deborah Ambrosino. Abandoning the standard cut paper wigs, Deborah steamed, shaped and sewed tailors canvas into hair-styles representing the many time periods. Over a span of two years she created hundreds of wigs, working directly with LACMA curators and historians to make the pieces as accurate as possible.
Below are a few photos of the Reigning Men exhibit. If you are in the Los Angeles area before it closes August 22, 2016 be sure to visit LACMA to check it out! But if you can’t make it, exhibit books are also available at Amazon.com.
Hover your mouse over the photos for descriptions and dates.