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Journey Through the Evolution of Men’s Fashion, Unveiling the Cultural Significance of Every Stitch

Alliance Française de Singapour, an educational and cultural organization, is hosting the “La Veste” exhibition from January 17 to March 16, 2024. This sophisticated showcase highlights the artistry of the male blazer, featuring pieces from renowned French-based and inspired fashion houses like Balmain, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, and more.

Curated by Singapore’s esteemed international fashion consultant Leonard Choo, the exhibition, based on the personal collection of law professor and fashion photographer David Tan, provides a captivating exploration of the evolution of masculine fashion in French history.

Alliance Française de Singapour - French Designer Jackets Showcase with Artistic and Nuanced History

Picture of some of the ornamental men’s blazers from various brands

La Veste Exhibition

The exhibition showcases 42 carefully chosen men’s blazers from Tan’s private collection, exploring the intricate impact of masculinity on French culture. The curation delves into the conception of beauty and the craftsmanship of garments, offering a contemplative journey into the enduring allure of the men’s suit.

It sheds light on the pivotal role of the suit in defining and redefining style, status, and self-expression. The exhibition prompts a thought-provoking question: “Is this fashionable menswear merely a sensuous distraction, or does it hold deeper cultural significance?”

Alliance Française de Singapour - French Designer Jackets Showcase with Artistic and Nuanced History

Picture of some of the older men’s blazers from Louis Vuitton

The exhibition is organized into four thematic sections—Military, Ornamentation & Decoration, Art, and Deconstruction/Reconstruction—guiding visitors through a fashion journey inspired by these diverse themes.

The concept behind the exhibition revolves around the inherent design rigidity of men’s jackets. Unlike the creative freedom often seen in women’s clothing, the blazer follows a universal template with lapels, sleeves, button-front, and structured shoulders. La Veste explores the evolution of tradition through the creative use of prints, fabrics, deconstructive techniques, embroidery, and embellishments by France-based and inspired designers, challenging, rejecting, or reinterpreting the established norms.

Alliance Française de Singapour - French Designer Jackets Showcase with Artistic and Nuanced History

Picture of Allan Wu on the informative wall regarding the Art of Men’s Blazers

Some notable figures in Singapore, including artists like Ayden Sng and Allan Wu, badminton world champion Loh Kean Yew, and visual artist Faris Nakamura, have been involved in promoting the exhibition. Their participation adds an extra layer of excitement to the event, complementing the captivating display of David Tan’s collection.

Alliance Française de Singapour - French Designer Jackets Showcase with Artistic and Nuanced History

Picture of Yang Yan, actor, and David Tan, Photographer and Law Professor

In addition to the La Veste exhibition, Alliance Française de Singapour will be hosting a dynamic array of activities as part of the Couture Programme, marking the thirteenth edition of their esteemed French Excellence initiative. Encouraging guests to delve into the cultural essence of French men’s fashion, the event will feature an engaging lineup of film screenings and workshops.

Among the highlights are an extensive series of film screenings, including “Papicha” by Mounia Meddour; set in 1990s Algiers, the film portrays Nedjima’s courageous fashion show amidst political turmoil. “Dior and I” by Frédéric Tcheng provides an insider’s look at Christian Dior, revealing Raf Simons’ debut haute couture collection, while Anne Fontaine’s “Coco before Chanel” captures Coco Chanel’s journey to the fashion world, alongside other captivating screenings.

Complementing the cinematic experiences are four beginner-friendly workshops, scheduled for Saturday, 27 January 2024, and 24 February 2024, at the Singapore Fashion Council. Participants are invited to bring their own jackets and customise them based on the thematic inspirations explored in the exhibition. Through these workshops, participants will uncover the endless possibilities of fashion, transforming their jackets into unique works of craft and art.

For more information about Alliance Française de Singapour and information on booking tickets, visit: https://alliancefrancaise.org.sg/couture

About Alliance Française de Singapour

A local non-profit educational and cultural organisation, Alliance Française de Singapour’s mission is to offer unique opportunities to all public to expand their linguistic and cultural consciousness by offering French classes using innovative state-of-the art methodology and material as well as programming artistic events in all disciplines that promote the richness and diversity of cultures from the French-speaking world and beyond. Alliance Française de Singapour was founded in 1949 and is affiliated to the international network of Alliance Française, which spans over 800 locations in 132 countries. The organisation has hosted many successful programmes to date, each celebrating different aspects of French Excellence, including Notre-Dame with its exhibition, (Re)births, centered around the emblematic monument; DANCE, spotlighting revolutionary dancer Rudolf Nureyev; and À TABLE!, which sparked conversations about the art of French fine dining.

Read More by Voice of The Ladies Cue, Lindy Wong
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