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V&A: Fashioning Masculinities

The Art of Menswear

  • Art Direction
  • Campaign
  • Environment
  • Exhibition Design
  • Strategy
  • Type Design

The landmark show decodes the history of menswear across the centuries. Curated by Claire Wilcox and Rosalind McKever, it celebrates a moment of unprecedented creativity in men’s fashion and reflection on gender – seeking to defy contemporary perceptions of masculinity.

The campaign features looks from three designers, Harris Reed, Nicholas Daley and Gucci by Alessandro Michele. Photographed by Julian Broad and choreographed by Russell Maliphant the subjects appear twisted, stretched and charged with energy, to create a series of dynamic compositions that celebrate both the performance of men’s fashion and its deconstruction. And thus revealing fashion at its best; alive and in motion.

Given the scale of the show – the campaign had to be expansive in its reach – both in print and digital. The variation in format was therefore wide ranging – from the side of a bus, a social post, digital banners, on site installations, or a digital underground display. Our response was to conceive one overarching idea that could flex across all these touchpoints.

In early conversations with Julian Broad and Russell Maliphant, we discussed the idea of choreographing a sequence which allowed the dancer to explore a range of contrasting shapes – extended horizontals and elongated verticals – all captured as motion and stills. In rehearsals Maliphant spent time defining a physical performance that transitioned through varying compositions. So that, although there are certain fixed elements at play which bring consistency – outfit, colour, typography – we also have fluidity of movement and form. This provided an image palette that could work across the campaign in a dynamic way, ensuring that we present the best pose or figurative composition for any given format. Taking this approach also ensured that the campaign would continue to evolve over the eight-month duration of the show.

Credits

Design and Art Direction: Hingston Studio
Photography: Julian Broad
DoP: Tom Sweetland
Model: Edd Arnold
Choreography: Russell Maliphant
Stylist: Harris Elliott
Hair: Oliver J. Woods
Producer: James Ward

With special thanks:
Harris Reed
Nicholas Daley
Alessandro Michele, Gucci

The performance-led identity was also extended to the museum itself – onsite applications and super graphics featured animated silhouettes which lead visitors across the courtyard and through the entrance space.