Fashion exhibitions not to be missed in 2017

Fashion exhibitions not to be missed in 2017

After the success of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, which was the most popular exhibition in V&A’s history or the Manus x Machina at the Met last year, museums realised that fashion attracts huge numbers of visitors. Also the discussion whether fashion belongs to museums or whether they should be reserved for pure art only seems to be settled. In 2017 many museums are will showcase fashion collections, from Balenciaga, through Dior to Martin Margiela.

When I’m planning my trips I like to have a list of interesting exhibitions at hand so I’m sure I won’t miss anything. Below you can find my picks but if you know of any interesting shows please let me know and I’ll update the list.


Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Photo by George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images)

Hubert de Givenchy: To Audrey with Love

Gemeentemuseum the Hague, the Netherlands

26 November 2016 – 26 March 2017

French couturier Hubert de Givenchy is one of the leading fashion designers of the 20th century. His career ran concurrent to that of Christian Dior and Cristóbal Balenciaga and he is a living legend in the history of haute couture. The Gemeentemuseum created this prestigious exhibition hand in hand with Monsieur De Givenchy himself. The exhibition will not only be a grand retrospective. Monsieur De Givenchy also pays homage to his muse, Audrey Hepburn.


Cristóbal Balenciaga. A timeless legacy

Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa, Getaria, Spain

1 January 2016 – 7 May 2017

Cristóbal Balenciaga is unanimously regarded as one of the leading and most influential couturiers of the 20th century. A tireless perfectionist, he acquired an expert command of sewing techniques and spent his life refining the construction of his creations and introducing extraordinary innovations that allowed him to gradually evolve towards simpler, purer forms. His exceptional creative talent inspired him to design models that were audacious in both their form and aesthetics, taking the world by storm and setting the indisputable trend season after season. His command of the craft earned him the respect of his colleagues and he reigned supreme in the international haute couture world until he retired in 1968.

This exhibition aims to provide visitors with an insight to the main characteristics of Cristóbal Balenciaga’s work and demonstrate his crucial contribution to the history of fashion and design.


Diana: Her Fashion Story

Kensington Palace, London, UK

24 February 2017 – end of 2017

Trace the evolution of the Princess’s style, from the demure, romantic outfits of her first public appearances, to the glamour, elegance and confidence of her later life. Don’t miss an extraordinary collection of garments, including the iconic velvet gown, famously worn at the White House when the Princess danced with John Travolta.


Balenciaga, l’œuvre au noir

Musée Bourdelle, Paris, France

8 March 2017 – 16 July 2017

The exhibition resonates with the black tones of an alchemist of haute couture. Balenciaga pieces are displayed alongside the plaster casts in the Great Hall and there are more in Bourdelle’s studios and in the contemporary Portzamparc wing of the museum. Balenciaga’s work sets up a powerful, black-on-white dialogue with the great, late 19th-and early 20th-century sculptor.

Black – for Balenciaga’s inspiration: the spiritual underpinnings of his work were the folklore and traditions of his Spanish childhood. Black – for the ascetic taste of this extraordinarily skilful tailor who gave us: the barrel line, the balloon, the semi-fitted, the tunic dress, and, of course, the sack dress. Black – for the monastic influence on the master, of whom Dior once said: ‘Clothes were his religion’.


House Style

Chatsworth, Derbyshire, UK

25 March 2017 – 22 October 2017

House Style will demonstrate the power of fashion and bring to life the captivating individuals from the Cavendish family, including Bess of Hardwick, one of the most powerful women of the 16th century; the 18th century “Empress of Fashion” Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire; and Adele Astaire, the sister and dance partner of Fred Astaire. Deborah Devonshire and Nancy Mitford, two of the Mitford sisters; model Stella Tennant and John F Kennedy’s sister ‘Kick’ Kennedy will also be central to the show.

Layering art history, fashion, jewellery, archival material, design and textiles, the exhibition will be organised by theme. Highlights will include exceptional couture designed by Jean Phillipe Worth and Christian Dior, together with influential contemporary garments from designers such as Gucci, Helmut Lang, Margiela, Vivienne Westwood, Erdem, Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane and Vetements.


Margiela, the Hermès Years

ModeMuseum, Antwerp, Belgium

31 March 2017 – 27 August 2017

From 31 March 2017 to 27 August 2017, MoMu will display Belgian stylist Martin Margiela’s Hermès collections from 1997 to 2003 for the first time. As well as this, the tribute exhibition also explores the relationship during these years between these collections and his own label, Maison Martin Margiela. Ground-breaking deconstruction and timeless luxury – the two worlds of designer Martin Margiela – are the starting point of the exhibition ‘‘Margiela, the Hermès years’’.

Rei Kawakubo “Body Meets Dress – Dress Meets Body,” spring/summer 1997. Photo Paolo Roversi

Rei Kawakubo / Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between

The Met Fifth Avenue, NYC

4 May 2017 – 4 September 2017

The Costume Institute’s spring 2017 exhibition will examine the work of Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, known for her avant-garde designs and ability to challenge conventional notions of beauty, good taste, and fashionability. The thematic show will feature approximately 120 examples of Kawakubo’s womenswear for Comme des Garçons, from her first Paris runway show in 1981 to her most recent collection.

The galleries will illustrate the designer’s revolutionary experiments in “in-betweenness”—the space between boundaries. By situating her designs within and between dualities such as East/West, male/female, and past/present, Kawakubo probes their rigidity and artificiality to resolve and dissolve them. Mannequins will be arranged at eye level, with no physical barriers, to collapse the usual distance between museum visitors and the designs on display.


Designed in California

Design Museum London, UK

24 May 2017 – 15 October 2017

“Designed in California” is the new “Made in Italy”. While California’s mid-century modernism is well documented, this is the first exhibition to examine its current global reach. Picking up the story in the 1960s, the exhibition charts the journey from the counterculture to Silicon Valley’s tech culture.


The World of Anna Sui

Fashion and Textile Museum London, UK

26 May 2017 – 1 October 2017

Anna Sui is the classic American fashion designer. From Detroit to New York, her signature rock-n-roll romanticism reinvents pop culture for every new generation. Since her first catwalk show in 1991, Sui has shaped not only the garments, textiles, accessories, beauty and interiors which comprise her design universe, but also the course of fashion history. The World of Anna Sui features over 100 looks from the designer’s archive, presenting a roll call of archetypes from Surfers and School Girls to Hippies, Mods and Punks. This is the first time an American designer has been the focus of a retrospective exhibition in the UK.

Silk taffeta evening dress, Cristóbal Balenciaga, 1955, Paris. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London


Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion

Victoria and Albert Museum London, UK

27 May 2017 – 18 February 2018

Cristóbal Balenciaga is one of the most revered and influential designers of the 20th century. His unique and forward-thinking vision of female beauty, innovative use of textiles and ingenious pattern-cutting, shaped the modernity of 1960s fashion and continues to shape fashion today.

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion is the first exhibition on Balenciaga in the UK and marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of his first fashion house and 80 years since the opening of his famous house in Paris. The exhibition will take an in depth look at the craftsmanship behind Balenciaga’s designs and will explore his impact through designers who worked with him and those who show his influence today.


The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture

NGV International, Melbourne, Australia

27 August 2017 – 7 November 2017

In celebration of the seventieth anniversary of the House of Dior, one of the world’s most prestigious couture houses, the National Gallery of Victoria presents The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture.

Exclusive to Melbourne, this exhibition is a collaboration between the NGV and the House of Dior and includes a sumptuous display of more than 140 garments designed by Christian Dior Couture between 1947 and 2017.

The House of Dior explores the story of the fashion house through a series of themes, featuring works by the seven designers who have played key roles in shaping Dior’s renowned fashionable silhouette: Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri.


Opening of Musée Yves Saint Laurent, Paris, France

Fall 2017

Across 450 m2, an ever-changing display of Yves Saint Laurent’s work will present the Fondation’s rich and unique heritage. Approximately fifty models will be exhibited, along with various accessories, sketches, photographs, and videos. The salons where the collections were shown and the historic studio where the couturier worked will be opened to the public, offering visitors a glimpse of his creative process.

The Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris will be the first museum of this scale dedicated to one of the twentieth century’s greatest couturiers to open in the capital of fashion. It will coincide with the opening of another Museum in Marrakech (Morocco).


Items: Is Fashion Modern?

1 October 2017 – 28 January 2018

The Museum of Modern Art, NYC

Items: Is Fashion Modern? explores the present, past, and future of 111 items—garments, accessories, and accoutrements—that have had a strong impact on history and society in the 20th and 21st centuries, and continue to hold currency today. Among the 111 will be designs as well-known and transformative as the Levi’s 501s, the Casio watch, and the Little Black Dress, and as ancient and culturally charged as the kippah and the keffiyeh. Each item will be displayed in the incarnation that made it significant in the last 116 years—the stereotype—along with contextual materials that trace back to its historical archetype. In some cases, the item will also be complemented by a new commission—a prototype. Driven first and foremost by objects, not designers, the exhibition considers the many relationships between fashion and functionality, cultural etiquettes, aesthetics, politics, labour, identities, economies, and technology.



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