This area considers the introduction of traditionally male nautical styles into women's wardrobe, the adoption of sailor styles to create gender-blurring looks and their use as potent images of masculinity, helping to position the sailor as a modern gay icon. Key objects include an outfit designed and worn by Adam Ant, a 'pirate-style' ensemble by John Galliano and an haute couture outfit by John-Paul Gaultier.
This man's sailor suit typifies the look associated with the 'glam rock' movement of the early 1970s. Glam rock, led by musicians such as David Bowie and Marc Bolan of T-Rex, sought out 'glamorous' and playful styles using luxurious fabrics such as faux fur, velvet and satin. These were often worn with cosmetics to create an androgynous, even effeminate, look.
Victoria and Albert Museum
Adam Ant (b.1954)
wool jacket with brass buttons, cotton shirt and neck-tie and leather trousers
Adam Ant's use of historical military and naval uniform – glamorous frockcoats and blousy shirts, coupled with flamboyant make-up and jewellery – helped define the New Romantic look of the early 1980s. This outfit was designed and worn by Adam Ant in the video for his debut solo single 'Goody Two Shoes' which reached number one in the UK in June 1982.
V & A Theatre Collections
John Galliano (b. 1960)
wool and cotton jacket and cotton toga
By reinterpreting the style and cutting of 18th-century naval uniform, John Galliano's spring/summer 2005 menswear collection revisited the glamour of the golden age of piracy. This highly individual piece uses the traditional cut of a sailor's jacket, combined with military styling and beachwear.
John Galliano Homme
trousers by F.W. Harmer & Co.
cotton vest and serge trousers
The striped sweater and flared 'bell-bottom' trousers are two of the most enduring nautical garments. This look was popularized in the 1920s by the French designer Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel (1883–1971) who could be seen dressed in her boyish striped sweater and 'yachting pants' on the bohemian French Riviera.
NMM UNI1308 / UNI4025