ManStyle is an anticipated event of the L'Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival cultural program, as it is a major exhibition exploring menswear from the last three centuries.
There will be outfits from the Enlightenment to Regency era on display. This era saw the beginnings of the three-piece suit, as well as new takes on the previous designs of waistcoats, coats and breeches. Waistcoats were lengthened, full dress coats had no collar and the trim was decorated with intricate embroidery and buckles appeared on breeches, as men began to be wear breeches over stockings.
Also on display will be outfits demonstrating the Victorian era, which was the age of new materials, coloured dyes and the sewing machine also had come of age. The menswear staples (shirt, waistcoat, trousers and coats), were once again re-designed for a new era. The waistcoats and coats were more fitted, linen shirts sported turned down collars (in the previous era shirts were defined with ruffles and lace), while trousers had fly fronts and breeches were only used for horse riding or formal occasions.
Menswear also started to become accessorised with bowler hats and top hats, neckties were worn in a four-in-hand knot and ascot ties also became popular. The later part of the era saw the rise of three-piece suits and the designs and patterns of shirt fabric were experimented with. Importantly this era saw the birth of the blazer and tuxedo.
A bit more recognisable to the modern man, will be the outfits from the early 20th Century. Tailors began to redesign menswear, mainly due to the changing physique; waist coats were single breasted, blazers featured embroidery and coloured fabrics and striped fabrics played a major part in the design of blazers, shirts, waistcoats and trousers. Also tuxedo jackets were finished with satin and silk facings and the three-piece suit featured a waistcoat, jacket and pair of trousers, cut from the same cloth - often in the style of a zoot suit. Calf-length overcoats also became quite popular.
It is the later part of the 20th century, which saw much experimentation in menswear, there was the double breasted suit, cuffed trousers and causal shirt of the 50s and 60s, then of course the rise of jeans and wide collar shirts of the 70s.
The 90s ushered in flannel, leather jackets and tracksuits, while 21st Century fashion currently remains retro inspired, with vintage tees and military and mod designs reworked for the modern consumer.
The exhibition will feature over 80 works from celebrated designers such as Thom Browne, who is best known for sleek tailoring, the avant-garde Pierre Cardin, the grand couturier Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood, who best known for her punk and new wave fashions. There will be the work of many Australian designers also on show.
With the exhibition running from March 11, 2011 to November 27, 2011, the NGV has also curated a program of events, such as a workshop and a series of events, including a free screening of Zoolander on 17 Apr 2011 at 2:00pm, a free fashion parade and a series of free seminars with curator Katie Somerville, assistant curator Paola Di Trocchio and TV presenter Dhav Naidu. There is also the free ongoing Art Sparks event entitled Oh Man! Art you wear, designed for children aged 3.
ManStyle is free and provides a fascinating cultural and historical look at mens fashion. It is a great way to soak up the fashion festival atmosphere this autumn in Melbourne!