These are the fashion exhibitions not to miss this year

From Azzedine Alaia at The Design Museum to Dior in Colorado, these are the must-see fashion exhibitions you simply can’t miss.

Words by Lisa Walden

Dior: From Paris to The World

November 18 – March 3 2019

The Denver Art Museum in Colorado will swing open its doors this November for an exhibition surveying more than 70 years of the House of Dior’s enduring legacy and its global influence. Here, you can expect to see a selection of 150 haute couture dresses, accessories, photographs, archival material and exclusive runway footage. “Artistic interpretation has always been a key factor to the House of Dior’s success in creating a global legacy for the French haute couture house,” explains the exhibition’s curator Florence Muller. “Visitors will witness this through thematic exhibition sections, and will also begin to understand how the Americas contributed to the success of the house over a seven decade period.”

Dior fashion models wearing “Vert gazon,” “Gavroche,” and “Flirt” ensembles (Spring-Summer Haute Couture collection, Slim Look line)
1961
© 2013 Mark Shaw

As well as profiling Christian Dior’s own inspirations, the major retrospective will also take a look at the brand’s artistic directors, from Yves Saint Laurent in 1958 to Maria Grazia Chiuri’s vision now. Elsewhere, make sure not to miss the dramatic visual display of the Dior atelier’s exquisite technique — something you won’t get to see anywhere else. 

Denver Art Museum
100 W 14th Avenue Pkwy, Denver, Colorado, 80204, USA
Tickets: Enquire online

Fashioned from Nature

April 21 – January 27 2019

The future of fashion and our planet are a cause for celebration at the V&A’s new unmissable exhibition spanning over 400 years. There is plenty to see here. From botanical embroidery pieces on show, to stellar earrings made from birds of paradise, the retrospective will take visitors on a journey through the centuries of fashion that have plundered the natural world. Expect to be bought closer to nature: take a walk around and you’ll hear the sound of birdsong as well as other animals in their natural habitat. With our second May bank holiday creeping up quickly, add this must-see exhibition to your weekend plans.

Victoria and Albert Museum
Cromwell Road, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL
Tickets: £12

Inside Azzedine Alaia: The Couturier

Until 7 October 2018

On May 10, The Design Museum opened its doors for a must-see exhibition charting the inimitable work of Azzedine Alaia, looking at his journey from sculptor to couturier. From stories of his life and career, to iconic garments spanning back to the 1980s, you can expect an exclusive insight into the designer’s work and life — which was co-curated by the designer himself before his death in November 2017.

Photo: Mark Blower

One of the most anticipated exhibition openings of the year, this retrospective will shine light on the late designer’s signature nipped-in body-con waist, described as “second-skin dressing.” The consummate craftsman understood the female body, moulding clothes to fit the female form — and changed the fashion landscape as we know it. You’ve still got October to see this one so make sure you don’t miss out.

The Design Museum
224-238 Kensington High Street, Kensington, London W8 6AG
Tickets: £16

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up

Opening 16 June

Experience Frida Kahlo’s compelling life story through her most intimate personal belongings, on display exclusively at the V&A this summer. The Mexican artist, best known for her self-portraits, was inspired by the nature and artifacts of her homeland. It’s her physical and emotional pain that were often depicted in her works, shining light on a turbulent relationship and a lifetime of suffering (she had over 30 operations across her life). More than 200 of her personal items will be on display at the retrospective, including clothing items, jewellery, makeup used by the artist and a prosthetic leg in a red leather lace-up boot. You’ve got one month until the doors open so why not book your early bird ticket now. 

Frida Kahlo, c. 1926. Museo Frida Kahlo. © Diego Riviera and Frida Kahlo Archives, Banco de México, Fiduciary of the Trust of the Diego Riviera and Frida Kahlo Museums.

Victoria and Albert Museum
Cromwell Road, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL
Tickets: £15

Orla Kiely: A life in Pattern

May 23 – September 23

Next week, The Fashion and Textile Museum will open their doors for the first-ever exhibition dedicated to the designer Orla Kiely. From her first collection of hats shown at London Fashion Week in 1994 to her iconic bag in the mid-sixties, the exhibition will chart the growth and success of the renowned Irish designer.

Courtesy of Orla Kiely. © Orla Kiely

Drawing on an archive of over 20 years of work, there will be brilliant insights into every area of her work. You can expect a behind-the-scene look into Kiely’s methods, concepts, sketches, samples and her making techniques. Make sure to head to the shop on your way out to pick up some exclusive Orla Kiely accessories of your own.

The Fashion and Textile Museum
83 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3XF
Tickets: £15

Margiela/ Galliera, 1989-2009

March 3 – July 15

If there’s one exhibition not to miss before the summer it’s Palais Galliera’s new stand-out retrospective which unpacks the life and work of Martin Margiela. The Belgian designer’s conceptual approach to creating garments is celebrated under the roof of the Galliera, tracing back his career from 1989 to the summer of 2009. He was best known for his technique of deconstructing (he would expose the inside of clothing, leave unfinished parts and embrace pleats and shoulder pads).

artin Margiela, sleeveless jacket, Spring-summer 1998 Wool and polyester fabric flattened by an iron
© Françoise Cochennec / Galliera / Roger-Viollet

Using more than 130 silhouettes, house archives and special installations the curators here take an unprecedented look at the life of the most prolific designer. And with just a Eurostar journey away, there’s no excuse not to hop on a train this weekend to see it for yourself.

Palais Galliera
Rue de Galliera, 75016 Paris, France
Tickets: €10

Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Colour

September 7 – January 5 2019

Pink might not be your colour, but at The Fashion Institute of Technology’s new exhibition there is something for everyone. Launching this September, the retrospective will trace back through bright pink dresses from designers including Elsa Schiaparelli, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Rei Kawakubo, Gucci and Moschino — a vibrant collection that hasn’t been seen together anywhere else.

From Schiaparelli’s 1930 ‘Shocking Pink’ dress to Yves Saint Laurent’s 1960s cocktail dresses, the objects on display depict how pink was coded as the ”feminine” colour in the 18th and 19th century. Elsewhere, the exhibit will also be accompanied by a new book which will be published by Thames & Hudson in October. Expect dresses, history and a whole lot of pink.

The Fashion Institute of Technology
227 West 27th Street, New York, NY 10001, USA
Tickets: Free

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