From Beau Brummel to A$AP Rocky, Menswear’s 500 Are Celebrated in The Men’s Fashion Book

Out next month, The Men’s Fashion Book (Phaidon) takes stock of where menswear has been and suggests where it might be going at a time when the industry is heading in uncharted directions. Some of the changes in menswear relate to new conceptions of masculinity, others to the reconfiguration of the workplace, still more to the Internet which offers information and selection to an never-more-engaged audience.

Jacob Gallagher, the Wall Street Journal’s Off-Duty Men’s Fashion Editor, wrote the introduction and many of the book’s 500 entries, narrowed down from a list that at one point contained 800 names, he explained on a call. There “will be people we left off,” the writer says, adding he’s excited for feedback.

The result of the alphabetic arrangement of the book—Granny Takes a Trip (a label popular in the Swinging ’60s), for example, is on a page across from Cary Grant, the epitome of polished masculine elegance; Virgil Abloh shares a spread with Haider Ackerman—is to create unexpected connections between old and new and, in effect, to mimic the unexpected cadences typical of the Internet. “There are teenagers and 20-somethings that are just incredibly fluent in what Helmut Lang did or what Martin Margiela did [in the 1990s],” notes Gallagher. “I think it’s very easy for them to kind of find their teams, so to speak, or find what they’re into through the Internet, and that’s then fueling what they want to wear and what they care about.”

I chatted with Gallagher, who mused on the suit, Beau Brummell, and menswear’s new “archival” era.