This month, London’s Burlington Arcade celebrates the 150th anniversary of the tuxedo in collaboration with the London College of Fashion. The “Little Black Jacket” exhibition opens on 10 September, and will showcase heritage pieces from renowned tuxedo wearers Frank Sinatra and Truman Capote, alongside reinterpretations for the 21st century created by the talented students at the London College of Fashion.
London is the perfect city to open the “Little Black Jacket” exhibition, which moves onto New York before embarking on its international tour in 2012. London is the home of the tuxedo, which was invented by Henry Poole & Co in Saville Row. For me, the tuxedo immediately brings to mind elegantly dressed men dashing around The Big Smoke, closing big financial deals and enjoying themselves later at a gentlemens’ club. At the same time, I think women look effortlessly stylish and sexy in a tuxedo (it’s that juxtaposition created by soft, feminine curves encased in sharp, masculine lines) and my favourite examples of women working the tuxedo are Bianca Jagger and Ashely Olson. Victoria Beckham also looks good in a tux, sans implants.
Throughout the tuxedo exhibition, shop windows in the Arcade will display black and white photography of fashionistas wearing their favourite tuxedos, including Chairman of The British Fashion Council, Harold Tillman, supermodel Marie Helvin and musician Mr Hudson. The simple fact that three such diverse people can each wear the same garment with such ease proves that the tuxedo is 100% deserving of its 150th anniversary exhibition. Go see it.
Tuxedo at Burlington Arcade runs Saturday 10th – Thursday 22nd September 2011.
Left: Bianca Jagger; Right: Ashley Olsen.