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The Museum of London opens new display spotlighting the secrets behind the suit
Museum of London’s Fashion Curator, Timothy Long© Museum of London.

LONDON.- As the capital gets set to celebrate men’s fashion with London Collections: Men, the Museum of London rips open the suit with a new display – The Anatomy of a Suit.

The museum will also play host to screenings of highlights from the men’s Autumn/Winter 2014 catwalk shows in its Sackler Hall. Running from 6 to 8 January 2014, the museum is the only public location in London that people can watch the screenings, outside of accredited British Fashion Council venues.

Opening tomorrow, (Friday 20 December,) The Anatomy of a Suit traces the secret, technical genius lurking beneath the suit’s surface – and lays bare London’s influence on global menswear. The display marks the first of many events and exhibitions designed to unpick the history of London menswear at the Museum of London.

As the museum can’t go tearing up its own collection, Fashion Curator, Timothy Long, has taken to London’s streets, scouring markets from Brick Lane to Broadway Market and Portobello Road for historical suit jackets to dissect.

Timothy Long said: “Previous research into the suit has at times overlooked the fact that it is a feat of engineering, with the ability to transform the body. Since the secrets of the suit are hidden on the inside, it’s easy to see why. It’s only through deconstructing the suit jacket and turning it inside out that we can bring its technical genius to the fore. Through this, we can experiment with the ways in which we display menswear at the museum. We can break away from the traditional – and at times – staid, confines that mannequins and glass cases can impose.”

The display sees film showcased alongside deconstructed suit jackets, splayed open, to reveal what lies beneath. Exhibits include:

· a double breasted pinstripe jacket, c. 1965, found on Brick Lane Market

· a morning jacket, c. 1927 also sourced from Brick Lane Market

· a black dress suit, c. 1933, purchased on Broadway Market

Chair of London Collections: Men, Dylan Jones said: “The Museum of London’s The Anatomy of a Suit gives a fascinating insight into the history of London menswear, and in particular the suit jacket. At a time when London Collections: Men is going from strength to strength, this exhibit gives a timely reminder of why London really is the home of menswear, with a heritage that boasts precision tailoring, craftsmanship and innovation.”

All details in menswear have an interesting history to tell about how men dress. London in particular played a crucial role in the development of modern men’s clothing from the suit to the bowler hat and brogue. The three-piece suit has been the go-to combination for some of the most important events of the last few centuries, ever since its inception back in 1666 by King Charles II. And the suit jacket is one of the most prominent features on the menswear catwalks today.

The Museum of London contains one of the world’s preeminent collections of menswear with a fashion collection of over 22,000 items. Stretching back over 2,000 years, it documents menswear from Roman sandals to Medieval leather and 17th century waistcoats. It also includes Savile Row and British tailoring, with references to post-World War II subversion of the suit from Teddy Boys to Mods and Punks. This collection is living proof of London’s leading status as the Menswear Capital of the World.

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