Dandy Style explores 250 years of men's fashion

Dandy Style, Photo by Michael Pollard

Dandy Style, a major new exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery that explores 250 years of menswear from the eighteenth century to the present day, features a number of significant loans from the Westminster Menswear Archive (WMA).
Mixing the historic with the contemporary, the exhibition highlights a range of examples from Manchester’s collections presented in two main sections: Tailored Dandy and Decorated Dandy.


In the section devoted to the Tailored Dandy are several outfits from the WMA including a British Army Grenadier Guards Drummer Tunic made by Kashket & Partners Ltd in 1989 – Harry Styles wore a similar one in a photo for Another Magazine taken by Alasdair McLellan. 
Also featured is a late-1980s John Richmond double-breasted black blazer with leather sleeves that have been hand-painted with tattoo motifs, and Nicholas Daley's 2019 orange and dark blue track suit that he designed for Fred Perry.


Within the Decorated Dandy section are several outfits from the WMA, including a Martine Rose Printed Denim Jacket from Spring Summer 2012. The jacket features an all-over print in which includes the words 'WILD BOY', 'Faster' 'VORTEX' and 'Martine Rose'; symbols including the CND peace sign; and various other images and animal prints.


Two other pieces from the WMA are featured. A man's cotton jersey jumpsuit with an asymmetric print designed by David Holah and Stevie Stewart of BodyMap and manufactured by Ken Moore Ltd in England is on display. This is next to a hand painted canvas Jacket from Craig Green's Autumn Winter 2014 collection. This modern take on camouflage was hand-painted and hand-printed, creating a complex and multi-layered pattern to confuse and dazzle the eye.

Andrew Groves, Director of the Westminster Menswear Archive said: “It’s been fantastic to be able to loan items from the Westminster Menswear Archive to support the curators in bringing their vision alive for the exhibition. Menswear has been overshadowed in fashion collections and exhibitions for decades; however, this exhibition redresses that imbalance, by highlighting the significance of menswear as a compelling force within the fashion industry by showcasing exceptional examples of its craftsmanship, skill, and design.”


Danielle Sprecher, Menswear Archive Curator said: “We are delighted to be able to be a part of this exhibition and to feature garments from the University of Westminster’s important and unique collection of menswear alongside pieces from Manchester Art Gallery’s nationally significant collections, some of which have never been displayed before.”


Dandy Style is on until 1 May 2023 at Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3JL