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Queer style

Dunbar suit by Vivienne Westwood

Clothing, accessories, hair, make-up and mannerisms have been used for centuries to signal and express alternative or ‘queer’ identities. 

From the exaggerated camp of the ‘macaroni’, to the mannish dress of butch lesbians, or the androgyny of glam rock, fashion has long played a role in challenging the social conventions around gender identity. Dress has also represented a particularly useful means for LGBT people to signal their sexuality to others.

Our collections include bondage clothes, a Vivian Westwood suit worn by Liverpool musician Holly Johnson, and the iconic ‘Le Smoking’ tuxedo suit for women by Yves Saint Laurent. There are also paintings and prints that show how artists have had a particularly strong influence on the development of a queer style.  

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LGBT collections

Explore our LGBT collections researched by our Pride and Prejudice research project