Invisible Men: An Anthology from the Westminster Menswear Archive
Calling all menswear geeks. The largest-ever UK exhibition devoted to menswear, Invisible Men: An Anthology from the Westminster Menswear Archive, is now open to the public and features a collection of previously unseen examples of early Alexander McQueen menswear.
Situated in the university’s vast 14,000sq ft subterranean space opposite Madame Tussauds, Invisible Men showcases 167 garments from over 50 different designers, the vast majority of which have never been on public display before.
Professor Andrew Groves, one-time partner and head assistant to Alexander McQueen and co-curator of Invisible Men, said: “We are thrilled to be able to display a selection of McQueen’s early menswear covering the years from 1997 to 1999 within the exhibition. There were no examples of McQueen’s menswear included in the V&A’s Savage Beauty exhibition, so this is the first chance for the public to see his early menswear designs. They will be able to study the exceptional tailoring skills that he learnt on Savile Row - these were the skills that informed the radical womenswear he was creating during the same period.”
Drawn exclusively from the Westminster Menswear Archive the show explores the story of British menswear over the last 120 years, presenting designer garments alongside military, functional, and utilitarian outfits. Groves’ co-curator is Dr Danielle Sprecher.
Contemporary designers featured include Craig Green, the current Menswear Designer of the Year, and Samuel Ross, whose label A-COLD-WALL* won the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund award in June.
A section devoted to wearable technology includes an example of the world’s first Graphene coated jacket and a solar-powered trenchcoat designed by Junya Watanabe. A section devoted to C.P. Company’s Urban Protection from the late 1990s includes garments that inflate, light up, detect toxic gas, or turn into chairs.
The exhibition includes several items from Stone Island’s very first collection from 1982, an Italian brand that went on to become firmly established as a favourite of British football casuals in the 1980s.
Alongside the designer garments, there are examples of British workwear covering the last 100 years including prison uniforms, postman’s uniforms, a police taser suit, and military camouflage. These pieces highlight how important and influential utilitarian workwear and uniform have been to contemporary fashion designers.
Runs: until 24 November 2019
Address: Ambika P3, University of Westminster, Marylebone, London, NW1 5LS
Transport: Underground: Baker Street. Rail: Marylebone.