Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Menswear and Dandys: 19th century Tailored Suits as Inspiration
Tailored menswear from the 19th and early 20th centuries, is back in the public eye. The current dandy inspired revival may have developed in response to the Steam Punk trend and a few recent feature films that were costumed in 1800's silhouettes. It appears that traditional men's tailoring and accessories are having the biggest interest since the dandies of the 1960's.
One contribution this season is the exhibition at Rhode Island School of Design: "Artist/Rebel/Dandy: Men of Fashion" on view now through Sunday, August 18, 2013. The grandfather of contemporary men's tailoring, Beau Brummell (1778–1840), is a key figure in this trend. When I think of Brummell's style, I am reminded of another important exhibition "Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700 - 1915" presented at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in the spring of 2009.
The photos posted here are of men's tailoring dating from this era, taken by me at the LACMA exhibit. The exhibition's selection was inspiring and it details what men wore then, and how those items were worn. This was an opportunity to study both the full silhouette and the closer view. Of equal importance are the accessories: hat, shirt, neck wear, shoes, stocking, gloves and cane. I have labeled each type of jacket so that the subtle differences in cut are made more obvious.
If you haven't seen the film "Beau Brummell: This Charming Man", you will want to watch the dressing scenes and see his layered wardrobe. This film gives us an inside view into how the excessively ornate apparel style of European gentlemen was changed forever to the more subtle dark tailored wools in the English tradition by Beau Brummell.