#1: Fashioned from Nature, V&A Museum (21 Apr)
You can always count on London’s leading museum of art and design to stage the best fashion-related exhibitions. Opening this month, The Victoria & Albert Museum will be holding the “Fashioned from Nature” exhibition, which will look at the complex relationship between fashion and couture.
The first UK exhibition of this nature, the exhibition will span the period of the 1600s till the present day, while exploring how elements of the natural world have influenced fashion design over the years. Fashionable dress will be presented alongside natural history specimens and innovative design processes, prompting visitors to think deeply about the materials of their clothes, and how they are made.
There are some definite must-see pieces, and top of the list is the iconic Calvin Klein gown that British actress Emma Watson donned at the MET Gala in 2016, which is made entirely out of recycled plastic bottles. Also look out for other interesting pieces, such as an outfit made from leather off-cuts and surplus yarn from knitwear designer Katie Jones, and a dress made from Vegea, a cruelty-free, vegan ‘leather’ material made from wine byproducts. Designs from Stella McCartney, famous for her ethical and sustainable approach to fashion, will also be on show.
“Fashioned from Nature” will run from 21 April 2018 – 27 January 2019 at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. £12 (S$22) per ticket.
#2: Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier, Design Museum (10 May)
Seems like it might be a good idea to plan a trip to London, as another must-visit exhibition is on show in the city come May. The “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier” exhibition at the Design Museum is the first UK solo exhibition of the Tunisian-born couturier’s work, and was conceived and co-curated with him before his untimely death in November last year.
The exhibition will present a comprehensive exploration of the designer’s career, from his start as a sculptor till his famed couturier status that earned him an esteemed clientele that included the likes of big names such as Greta Garbo, Grace Jones, Michelle Obama and Rihanna. The show will blend stories from both Alaïa’s professional work as well as his personal life, demonstrated through over 60 carefully selected garments spanning the early 1980s to his most recent collection in 2017.
Known for his nonconformist nature and mastery over cutting (he cut all of his own patterns), the exhibition is a fitting tribute to 35 years of brilliant work by the couturier, whose signature elegance, precise craftsmanship and luxe designs will stand the test of time.
“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier” will run from 10 May to 7 October 2018 at the Design Museum, London. £16 (S$29) per ticket.
#3: Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, the Met (10 May)
The Spring 2018 exhibition by the Costume Institute – the Metropolitan Museum of Art‘s fashion department – will explore the engagement of fashion with medieval art from the Met’s collection (if the title of the exhibition has not given it away).
“Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” will examine in-depth fashion’s ongoing dialogue with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism. Christian imagery has been long-standing in fashion since the dawn of time, and more recently still in baroque collections from the likes of Dolce & Gabbana and Chanel, with pieces imbuing significant religious connotations. The exhibition will look at the powerful link between Catholicism and fashion through a whopping display of over 150 pieces, encompassing a myriad of dresses, coats and accessories.
Also on show will be more than 50 papal robes and accessories dating from the 18th century till the present day that are on loan from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, many of which have never been seen outside The Vatican. Of course, with this theme in mind, we will now also eagerly await for the stars to wow us on the red carpet for the annual Met Gala (7 May).
“Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” will run from 10 May to 8 October 2018 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. US$25 (S$33) per ticket.
#4: Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Colour, The Museum at FIT (7 Sep)
Another fashion exhibition will be gracing the Big Apple this fall, this time hosted by The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. “Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Colour” will explore the titular colour in all its glory.
We know pink as the most ‘girly’ of all colours, associated with all things feminine, while blue is the antithesis, and mostly used in reference to boys. However, the significance, symbolism and representation of this shade have varied greatly across time, and across different locations. For example, in the 18th century, it was perfectly appropriate for a man to wear a pink suit, and in cultures such as India, men never stopped wearing pink.
Pink has grown to become a highly divisive and ambivalent colour – though it retains its sweet, innocent and romantic essence, it is now increasingly used in a cool, androgynous and even political way (just look at the pink pussy hats worn at the Women’s March). In the words of Kanye West, “Why would anyone pick blue over pink? Pink is obviously a better colour.”
“Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Colour” will run from 7 September 2018 to 5 January 2019 at The Museum at FIT, New York. Admission is free.
#5: Dior: From Paris To The World, Denver Art Museum (19 Nov)
The Denver Art Museum in Colorado has a huge responsibility on its shoulder – it’s the location where “Dior: From Paris To The World”, the first major US retrospective of the French luxury fashion label, will be showcased starting this November.
The exhibition will survey 70 years of the Maison’s history, looking at its lasting legacy and global influence. On display will be a selection of 150 couture dresses, as well as various accessories, costume jewelry, photographs, drawings, runway videos, and other archival material. Visitors will be able to take an intimate look at the fashion house, from its inception with founder Christian Dior, to the subsequent artistic directors who have brought Dior into the 21st century.
The chronological presentation will outline the design and history of the label, and in addition to that, there will be a strong focus on the widespread reach of Dior around the world. Items from the Dior Héritage Collection, which has been shown in Paris but not in the US, will also be on display.
“Dior: From Paris To The World” will run from 19 November 2018 to 3 March 2019 at the Denver Art Museum, Colorado. Tickets are not yet on sale.
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