Released next month, The book of men’s fashion (Phaidon) takes stock of the evolution of menswear and suggests where it might be heading at a time when the industry is heading in unknown directions. Some of the changes in men’s fashion are linked to new conceptions of masculinity; others to reconfiguration of the workplace; and even more to the Internet, which offers information and selection to an ever more engaged audience.
Jacob Gallagher, the menswear editor of The the Wall Street newspaper, wrote the introduction, and many of the book’s 500 entries were reduced from a list that at one point contained 800 names, he explained on a call. There will “be people we have left out,” Gallagher says, adding that he looks forward to receiving feedback.
The result of the book’s alphabetical arrangement – Granny Takes a Trip (a popular label in the Swinging Sixties), for example, can be found on a page opposite Cary Grant, the epitome of refined masculine elegance; Virgil Abloh shares a broadcast with Haider Ackermann – is to create unexpected connections between the old and the new and, in fact, to mimic the unexpected cadences typical of the Internet. “There are teenagers and young people in their twenties who have an incredible mastery of what Helmut Lang did or what Martin Margiela did. [in the 1990s]Gallagher notes. “I think it’s very easy for them to find their teams, so to speak, or find what they like through the internet, and then that feeds into what they want to wear and what interests them.”
We chatted with Gallagher, who’s reflected on costume, Beau Brummell, and the new “archival” era of menswear.