This autumn, Manchester Art Gallery is all about cloth, cut and pattern with the new exhibition Dandy Style, focusing on men’s style through the ages, from the 18th century to the present day. Set in the brand new dedicated Fashion Gallery, expect fine fabrics, paintings and photographs all celebrating menswear.
The exhibition is split into two sections: Tailored Dandy and Decorated Dandy, and each one opens with artist Lubaina Himid’s creative portraits of stylish-looking male figures.
The majority of the exhibits are from the gallery’s collection, with the addition of some loans from private lenders and art institutions. Showcasing around 75 outfits, there will be no shortage of dramatic looks but there are also some very special highlights.
A 1998 black Alexander McQueen coat with a pair of embroidered cocks fighting is an incredible example of restrained yet dramatic design. The coat is minimal in shape and colour, showcasing instead the panel of embroidered imagery.
Dandy Style also includes some items which were recently conserved and prepared for the show, some of which have never been displayed before. A richly embroidered smoking jacket is a show-stopping example of incredible craftsmanship which is sure to draw the eye.
You’ll also find an early three piece tartan suit from the 1820s and a very striking later version created by Vivienne Westwood in the 1990s. Alongside the suit, there is also a contemporary photograph of Eustache Seke wearing Westwood tartan, taken by Alice Mann. The exhibition gathers more than just outfits too, with a collection of paintings by Thomas Gainsborough, Thomas Lawrence and David Hockney. Also featured are the photographers David Bailey, Olivia Rose and Jason Evans.
The new Fashion Gallery has been specially designed and fitted with display cases for the purpose of showcasing costume, accessories and textiles. Dandy Style is a great opener of the gallery’s new season of fashion exhibitions. Most importantly, style and art lovers alike can enjoy the display, which does not put one art form ahead of another, and instead interrogates in detail the history and development of male style.
From Oscar Wilde’s penchant for extravagance, to the musicians of today seen through the lens of the best photographers, this show has something for everyone, whatever your style.