Tim Blanks, Clarissa M. Esguerra, Peter McNeil, Kaye Durland Spilker, Sharon Sadako Takeda, Los Angeles, 2016
Hardcover, 275 pp., 290 color illus.
Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715–2015 accompanies one of the most comprehensive exhibitions dedicated solely to three centuries of men’s fashion.
The fashionable male may be making a comeback, but early fashion trends centered around what men—not women—were wearing. This intriguing book traces the history of men’s fashion since the 18th century, when young Englishmen imitated foreign dress and manners after touring the European continent. This phenomenon is only one of many explored in sections titled "Revolution/Evolution", "East/West", "Uniformity", "Body Consciousness", and "The Splendid Man". In addition to numerous illustrations of extant menswear, the book captures the 19th-century dandy, a more restrained brand of expensive elegance which became the hallmark of Savile Row; the post-WWII mod, who relished the colorful styles of Carnaby Street; and the 21st-century man—ultra-chic in a sleek suit by day, wearing a flowered tuxedo by night. "Reigning Men" illuminates connections between history and high fashion, traces cultural influences over the centuries, examines how uniforms have profoundly shaped fashionable dress, and reveals that women aren’t the only ones who cinch and pad their bodies. Beautifully produced and lavishly illustrated, this eye-opening book will certainly appeal to men and women alike.