A weekly look at SoCal life covering news, arts and culture, and more.
Hosted by John Rabe
Airs
Arts & Entertainment

From old school Spanx to Hawaiian shirts, 300 years of men's fashion at LACMA




In Victorian England, rich men went to their man caves and smoked in rich, colorful costumes like these.
In Victorian England, rich men went to their man caves and smoked in rich, colorful costumes like these.
John Rabe
In Victorian England, rich men went to their man caves and smoked in rich, colorful costumes like these.
Vintage 1952 silk Hawaiian shirts. The first such shirts were cut down from ornate kimonos.
John Rabe
In Victorian England, rich men went to their man caves and smoked in rich, colorful costumes like these.
Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715–2015, a new exhibit at LACMA
LACMA
In Victorian England, rich men went to their man caves and smoked in rich, colorful costumes like these.
Sharon Takeda, senior curator and head of LACMA's Costume and Textiles Department, and Clarissa Esguerra, assistant curator of costume and textiles.
John Rabe
In Victorian England, rich men went to their man caves and smoked in rich, colorful costumes like these.
Detail of a silk coat from France, c1800.
John Rabe
In Victorian England, rich men went to their man caves and smoked in rich, colorful costumes like these.
A "Pearly King Vest" from 1930's England. Note the VR on the shoulders for Victoria Regina, Queen Victoria.
John Rabe
In Victorian England, rich men went to their man caves and smoked in rich, colorful costumes like these.
Fashion by Ahmed Adbelrahman from the Fall/Winter 2012-13 Thamanyah collection; tattoo by Mark Mahoney.
John Rabe
In Victorian England, rich men went to their man caves and smoked in rich, colorful costumes like these.
An early version of Spanx for men ... a corset built into a man's undergarment.
John Rabe
In Victorian England, rich men went to their man caves and smoked in rich, colorful costumes like these.
US Army uniform, c1944, of the type favored by General Eisenhower. The short coat became very popular, even influencing James Dean's famous windbreaker.
John Rabe
In Victorian England, rich men went to their man caves and smoked in rich, colorful costumes like these.
Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715–2015, at LACMA. This setting shows how high fashion riffed on camouflage.
LACMA
In Victorian England, rich men went to their man caves and smoked in rich, colorful costumes like these.
Installation Photograph for Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715–2015
LACMA
In Victorian England, rich men went to their man caves and smoked in rich, colorful costumes like these.
Installation Photograph for Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715–2015
LACMA


Listen to story

11:20
Download this story 10MB

Here are a few things I learned at LACMA's new show Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715–2015.

1. Men have been as vain as woman, witness two rare pieces: An old pair of long underwear with a corset like apparatus to give men the same hourglass shape cultivated by women and a set of stockings with lambswool implants designed to give men in tights the sexy calf muscles that proclaimed their masculinity.

2. Gregory Peck loved him some bespoke Saville Row suits. Reigning Men includes one of the 160 ensembles he ordered from H. Huntsman and Sons.

3. In Victorian England, men might relax by smoking a cigarette while dressed like a clown. Check the photos! The silk smoking jackets and suit on display are over-the-top.

4. It's harder to make up a male mannequin than a woman. It's not the clothes so much as the accessories: Canes, tie pins, hats, cuff links, handkerchiefs, etc. all have to be right. For the women, it's a dress and shoes.

For much more, listen to my interview with Sharon Takeda, senior curator and head of LACMA's Costume and Textiles Department, and Clarissa Esguerra, assistant curator of costume and textiles.