ISBN: 9781838510114

Publication date: 03 Mar 2022

Author: Rosalind McKever

At a moment of unprecedented creativity in men’s fashion and reflection on gender, this thought provoking, richly illustrated book explores how designers, tailors, photographers and artists – and their clients and sitters – have constructed and performed masculinity and unpicked it at its seams.

The book first strips things back to consider the naked male body and the continued influence of the classical ideal: the Adonis – enthusiastically re-considered by successive generations from eighteenth century (Grand) tourists to Mapplethorpe, Calvin Klein and even Captain America.

The middle section celebrates the very opposite - ‘the peacock’. For centuries men have used clothing to express status, wealth and individuality. Here is everything from richly embellished fabrics, shimmering textiles, voluminous cloaks, bulging codpieces and highly polished armour, to Stormzy’s stab vest and Prince’s boots – the uniting factor that they have all been worn with swagger and defiance.

The final section surveys the suit – the three-piece tailored garment that has come to epitomize masculine attire. But for all its homogeneity, the suit has taken on myriad personas, from the historicizing cut of the Teddy Boys, to the bold iconoclasm of Alexander McQueen, to the creativity of Billy Porter’s ‘Tuxedo’ Oscars gown.