Take a look inside the first major V&A exhibition to celebrate the power, artistry and diversity of masculine attire and appearance. At a moment of unprecedented creativity in men's fashion and reflection on gender, 'Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear' explores how designers, tailors and artists have constructed and performed masculinity, and unpicked it at the seams.
★★★★ – This mammoth attempt to cover the history of men's fashion from 1500 to today is lavish and joyful...
★★★★ – The second room, 'Overdressed', is a statement of flamboyance, opulence and colour, with incredible embroidered cloaks, intricate Baroque portraits and an Italian restyling of a Chinese dragon court robe.
★★★★ – The V&A's new show is a comprehensive and often surprising overview of what 'menswear' actually means now and how far it's come.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about menswear in this moment is its breadth of self-expression, be it political and/or flamboyant, sexy and/or glamorous, strong and/or fluid, or any various combination of those themes.
From the start, this exhibition makes it clear that menswear is more than just suits. It's linen shirts with billowing sleeves, it's spandex binders, it's jackets embroidered with eggshells and dramatic, corseted gowns.
..confronting and celebratory, it's an exhibition that leaves you wanting more, excited to see where a new age of menswear and the celebrities championing it might lead us. ★★★★
Walking out, I was all but peeling my black polo neck off to grab the most flamboyant frills, filled with optimism for the future.