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Beyond the Suit: Contemporary Menswear from the Collection of Alexandre Marr and Dominic Iudiciani

Start Date 27 July 2018
End Date 20 June 2019
Venue Kent State University Museum
Location Kent, USA
Curator Dominic Iudiciani
Exhibition display of dressed mannequins

This exhibition explores current trends in menswear design by focusing on the personal collection of Alexandre Marr and Dominic Iudiciani. Marr and Iudiciani’s unique taste shaped the selection of these individual pieces which reveal breaks in men’s fashion from the previously ubiquitous tailored suit. Rather than jackets, trousers and button-down shirts, the garments and ensembles displayed here feature alternatives to more conventionally structured and tailored pieces. These garments also call into question the traditional binary between menswear and women’s wear. While women have been wearing trousers for decades, skirts have remained an exclusively feminine garment. Designers’ runway collections are increasingly pushing the envelope and offering variations of skirts for men. Various designers have pushed silhouettes beyond the square shouldered, trim-waisted shape of the traditional suit. The exhibition features work by such notable labels as Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh, Julius_7, Dior Homme, Comme des Garçons, and Issey Miyake.

The move away from the traditional suit has also moved out of the clearly defined levels of formality for clothing. The basic gray or navy suit is appropriate for the work place or dressy occasion such as a party or even a wedding. Tuxedos or even white ties and tails represent even more formal wear. However, society is moving away from these strictly defined codified clothing options. The punk or goth aspect to the designs of Rick Owens and Gareth Pugh stands as a rejection of the formality of society and the workplace.

All of the pieces in the exhibition are black which allows for a concentrated focus on details of cut, construction, proportion, and materials. In moving away from traditional silhouettes, many of these designers rethought the relationship between the clothing and the underlying shape of the body. Many pieces have unusual proportions with high waists, widened shoulders and exaggeratedly long sleeves that distort the normal silhouette of the human form. Unusual materials ranging from thermoplastics to pleated polyester further serve to transform how the garments fit and move.