Kent State Museum’s ‘Beyond the Suit’ exhibit features contemporary twists on menswear


Parker Bosley views pieces in the Kent State University Museum’s latest exhibit, called “Beyond the Suit,” on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. It features contemporary menswear from the collection of Alexandre Marr and Dominic Iudiciani.

Ashley Johnson

Since its opening in 1985, the Kent State University Museum has explored a creative variety of trends, ranging from fringe elements on costumes and textiles to South African fashion and the elegant style of late movie star Katharine Hepburn.

“Beyond the Suit: Contemporary Menswear from the Collection of Alexandre Marr and Dominic Iudiciani — the latest exhibit at the museum that opened in July — continues that exploration.

Sara Hume, an associate professor of and the museum curator, has been apart of the exhibits in the museum for nine years. Interested in the dynamics and perceptions of what’s fashionable, Hume said she was drawn to this collection because it’s something the museum hasn’t featured before.

“A lot of our costume exhibitions focus on the history of dress, and this one is contemporary fashion and it’s also menswear,” Hume said. “These are two things that we don’t have as much of in our permanent collection, so it was really exciting to have an opportunity to showcase both menswear and contemporary dress.”

Kent State alumnus Alexandre Marr said he thought it would be a great opportunity to share his collection, and he emailed Hume with the idea of lending it to the museum. 

Marr and his partner, Dominic Iudiciani, met as high-schoolers in 2005, and they have accumulated designer pieces together ever since. Julius_7, along with Rick Owens and Gareth Pugh — who draw inspiration from punk and gothic styles — are just some of the designers displayed in the exhibit.

Marr said he sees himself as a collector who follows “a lot of avant-garde designers in menswear.”

“Most menswear seemed confining and lackluster until in 2010 when we found new designers who created different pieces,” Marr said. “Rick Owens is one of my favorite designers, references a lot of conceptual things like nature.”

Marr said he likes the concept of wearing ideas rather than clothing, and he thinks his gothic take on menswear showcases this. Instead of classical button-down shirts and slacks, the exhibit features all black garments, such as skirts and long coats with tall necklines.

While the collection is not what most people would consider everyday wear, Marr said it reflects modern trends, and he and Iudiciani are just some of the people who wear bold clothing pieces.

“I hope people can see that there’s more to menswear,” Marr said. “Yes, proportions are changing in womenswear all the time, but it’s also happening in the menswear market.”

The exhibit runs through June 30, 2019.

Admission to the museum is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for children under 18.

The museum is open to all from 10 a.m.- 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m.- 8:45 p.m. on Thursday; and noon-4:45 p.m. on Sundays. The museum is free to the public on Sunday.

Ashley Johnson is the fashion reporter. Contact her at [email protected].