Dandy Style Lunchtime Talks – Ben Wild

Black wool coat with 'fighting cocks' embroidery, Alexander McQueen, 1998.

A Shrinking Violet? The life and wardrobe of Cecil Beaton with Ben Wild, Senior Lecturer, Manchester Fashion Institute, MMU

Inspired by our current exhibition Dandy Style, we have arranged an affiliated series of six free talks by writers and researchers currently at the forefront of the exploration of men’s fashion and styling.

Five of the speakers have written chapters in our accompanying book, Dandy Style, which is available to buy in the gallery shop.

Dandy Style focuses on men’s fashion and image from the 18th century to the present day. The show explores how concepts such as elegance, uniformity and spectacle have evolved over the last 250 years.

Dr Benjamin Wild is a cultural historian and fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He is currently senior lecturer in contextual studies (fashion) within the Manchester Fashion Institute. He joined MMU in September 2019, having previously worked in higher education and secondary education institutions, including King’s College London and the Conde Nast College of Fashion and Design.

He is keen to understand how material objects – primarily clothing and jewellery – become imbued with meaning to convey their owner’s and wearer’s values. Benjamin’s work also considers issues of self- and group-identity, marginality and performance. His third book, Carnival to Catwalk: Global Reflections on Fancy Dress Costume was published by Bloomsbury in February 2020.

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Dandy Style Lunchtime Talks