Talking menswear with Tommy Nutter exhibit curator

Style and design museums seem to be having a menswear moment. With London fashion week now hosting a standalone menswear day to great applaud from press and buyers, suddenly the ‘boring’ connotations of

men’s designer wear are being turned around. On the back of this, a number of exhibits, of leading tailors are concurrently happening around the globe. Firstly here in the UK, there is plenty of visual stimuli at the Yohji Yamamoto retrospective at the V&A, running until mid July - his first menswear exhibit in London. V&A curator, Ligaya Salazar, says ‘we have purposely put his less outlandish pieces (such as signature business suits and utility wear) in the satellite spaces to emphasise their story, as they would have been overlooked in the main area.’

JTalking menswear with Tommy Nutter exhibit curatorust recently opened at the Style and Textiles Museum, is an exhibit of pioneering Seventies tailor, Tommy Nutter. The designer who bought glamour and fashion direction to Savile Row making pieces for the likes of Mick Jagger and Elton John, also was the first to create a shop window front. This has been recreated in the museum with fixtures, fittings and a live tailor working in the space. Elsewhere The Peacock Male has opened at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and traces men’s fashion back to the 18th Century. And Dandy, at the Nordiska Museet, includes touchscreens and interactive elements highlighting features like changing silhouettes. With this menswear movement in mind, Yankeemagazines caught up with Denis Nothdruft, the curator of the Tommy Nutter exhibit at the FATM to find out some more.

Yankeemagazines: Why do you think the time was right to launch this Tommy Nutter exhibition?
Denis Nothdruft: Menswear is having a renaissance at the moment. And remarkably the Tommy Nutter clothes still look relevant and fresh today.

FU: Why do you think there has been a renewed interest recently in Savile Row and the heritage of menswear tailoring?
DN: I feel that there is a real reaction to mass production and it has been underway for a while now. There is the move to hand crafts and DIY fashion on one side; the other side is a resurgence of traditional crafts like bespoke tailoring.

FU: And a series of menswear exhibits – Yohji Yamamoto, Dandy, The Peacock Male etc...?
DN:Men’s fashion comes and goes, but we seem to be moving into a period where men’s fashions are shifting and we are focusing on the masculine image.

FU: What was the main message you were looking to convey when curating the exhibit?
DN:We felt that it was important to show that the advent of Tommy Nutter prestaged a change in the way traditional tailoring was sold/displayed/consumed. He articulated bespoke tailoring to a newer, younger audience - as the first tailor to successfully combine Savile Row heritage with the Swinging Sixties cutting edge rebellion.

FU: There is even a tailor working in the space at intervals during the exhibit, what do you think is the most forgotten aspect of this form of design?
DN: Traditional craft - it is integral to the tailoring process.

FU: What are some of the signature pieces featured?
DN: The classic Nutter blazer in velvet with satin trim and the plaid suits with contrast pockets and trim. The his and hers cream suits are also stand out features. And four of Mick Jagger's suits – boyish-sized save for the shoulders – in shades of green and lemon as well as Elton John's stadium-ready two-tone dinner jackets are celebrity favourites.

FU: What were some of the most challenging aspects to curating this exhibit?

DN: Mounting the suits was a challenge as the shapes of clothes were very slim then!

Photos: Glass magazine


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