Men in tights
Tuesday, January 21st 2020 - Saturday, February 22nd 2020
Up Helly Aa is a festival of fancy dress, and the guizers in the procession wear costumes of all kinds, from elaborate to pretty basic. The common theme is disguise. From the earliest days many of the guizers, or often whole squads of them, have disguised themselves as women. For men wanting to don comic disguise, wearing female attire was an obvious choice, from comedic effect and women's clothes were brighter and more attractive than male costume of the time. The guizers didn’t try to mimic female physique, but just went into disguise. Guizers had plenty of female subjects to model, and some squads went out on political topics, but most were more whimsical, such as the “Merry Milkmaids” of 1921, and historical themes were always popular like “Grace Darling” in 1910.
This exhibition focuses on Up Helly Aa squads from 1905 – 1923 which made use of a favourite UHA disguise – men dressed up as women.