Our tour is the perfect follow-up to the V&A’s exhibition, “Fashioning Masculinities: the Art of Menswear”.
We take you from the late seventeenth-century invention of the three-piece suit right up to the present day and its formalities and informalities, including streetwear. The histories of the suit, shirt, trousers, tie, shoes are all included -- with multiple references to weaponry and tobacco products not to be forgotten, though they are not so prevalent on the London streets as they once were. We peer around alleyways where duels were fought and, in the process, explain why men’s buttons are on the right-hand side. Beau Brummell (1778-1840) is our hero, his dedication to his toilette having turned getting dressed into a most masculine art form.
For the first half of the tour, we will take you around St. James’s and Savile Row, explaining how the Row came to set the standard for western men’s dress throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, thanks largely to the fabulous tastes of Edward VII and Edward VIII. We will visit a tailoring house or two. The Teddy Boys of the 1950s, the Mods and Rockers of the 1960s, the Punks of the 1970s will all be discussed, along with their influence today. Carnaby Street’s colourful past will be conjured up in psychedelic detail.
Finally, we visit several contemporary menswear shops, observing widely different approaches to colour and cut and discussing how each is rooted in some way in the past. The pros and cons of strong- or soft-shouldered jackets or jackets with no shoulders at all will be considered, as we confront honestly our contemporary moment, when dressing down seems to be the only way at work yet dressing up is still desired for nights out. We’re likewise very interested in streetwear in Soho, the coolest hoodies, trainers, caps and bucket hats.
Excellent food and drink (optional)
Where does the experience start?
In front of St James’s Palace’s courtyard, Marlborough Rd, St. James's, London SW1A 1BQ
Packages for Voraciously Vintage
Duration: 5 hours
Duration: 9 hours
You’ll have seven hours to explore vintage shops and, if you book on a Wednesday, Friday or Saturday, markets two hours for refreshments. When you book, you may choose two of the following: breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, drinks and canapes or a light dinner. We will contact you to arrange the timing of these two breaks.
Breeches to bellbottoms Tour only for £50 per person
If you don't have the time or inclination for food and drink, then we can give you a private tour lasting 2 to 4 hours for £50 per person. When you book, you can decide the length. Also, for two or more students, we offer a discounted tour for £30 per person. Simply specify that you are a student when you book.
Curated by Cindy Lawford and Fashion Tours London
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