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7 fashion exhibitions to visit in 2022

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

Dec 30, 2021


Image: AZ Factory; Dries Van Noten, Dior, Comme Des Garcons

In 2022 there are a lot of fashion exhibitions to enjoy - from Alber Elbaz’s Paris Fashion Week tribute show being given the museum treatment in Paris to a focus on menswear in London, a continued celebration of American fashion in New York, and a retrospective on the late fashion designer Gianni Versace in the Netherlands to round out the year. To help you plan your next exhibition, FashionUnited shares its seven must-visit exhibits to open in 2022. 

Image: AZ Factory; Alber Elbaz, Balmain

Palais Galliera to host Alber Elbaz ‘Love Brings Love’ tribute catwalk show exhibition

The AZ Factory ‘Love Brings Love’ catwalk tribute to celebrate the late Alber Elbaz and his contribution to fashion held during Paris Fashion Week on October 5, is being turned into an exhibition at the Palais Galliera fashion museum in Paris.

The tribute exhibition will run from March 5 to July 10, 2022, and will feature the 45 participating fashion houses and designers that created “bespoke creation inspired by Alber’s legacy or a special take on an iconic silhouette,” including Alexander McQueen, Balmain, Chloe, Dior, Christopher John Rogers, Gucci, Jean Paul Gaultier, Grace Wales Bonner, and Louis Vuitton.

The one-of-a-kind exhibition, curated by Alexandre Samson, will immerse visitors in the full catwalk experience. It will reproduce the alphabetical order on the show, the effects, music and lights to honour the fashion designer who passed away in April shortly after the launch of his first collection for his new venture AZ Factory.

Image: Harris Reed by Giovanni Corabi; Harris Reed Fluid Romanticism 001

V&A places a spotlight on menswear in 2022

The V&A Museum in London is opening its first major menswear exhibition, ‘Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear, featuring looks by Harris Reed, Gucci, Grace Wales Bonner, Rick Owens, JW Anderson, Comme des Garçons, Raf Simons, and Craig Green.

Running from March 19 to November 6, 2022, the exhibition will celebrate the power, artistry and diversity of masculine attire and appearance, with around 100 looks from fashion’s legendary designers and rising stars alongside 100 historical treasures and acclaimed artworks.

The exhibition will be displayed thematically across three galleries, tracing how menswear has been fashioned and refashioned over the centuries and how designers, tailors and artists, and their clients and sitters, have constructed and performed masculinity and unpicked it at the seams.

It aims to showcase possible masculinities across the centuries from the Renaissance to the global contemporary, with outfits worn by familiar faces interspersed throughout. This will include looks from Harry Styles, Billy Porter and Sam Smith to David Bowie and Marlene Dietrich, highlighting and celebrating the multiplicities of masculine sartorial self-expression, dressing beyond the binary.

Claire Wilcox and Rosalind McKever, co-curators of ‘Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear,’ said in a statement: “Masculine fashion is enjoying a period of unprecedented creativity. It has long been a powerful mechanism for encouraging conformity or expressing individuality. Rather than a linear or definitive history, this is a journey across time and gender.

“The exhibition will bring together historical and contemporary looks with art that reveals how masculinity has been performed. This will be a celebration of the masculine wardrobe, and everyone is invited to join in.”

Image: Royal Collection Trust; Her Majesty The Queen’s Coronation Dress and Queen Elizabeth II on her Coronation Day by Cecil Beaton

The Royal Collection to celebrate Queen’s platinum jubilee

In 2022, The Queen will celebrate her historic Platinum Jubilee with three special displays marking significant occasions in Her Majesty’s reign, the Accession, the Coronation and Jubilees, at the official royal residences in the UK, Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. 

Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Accession will be at the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, from July 22 to October 2, 2022, displaying portraits of The Queen taken by Dorothy Wilding alongside items of Her Majesty’s personal jewellery worn for the portrait sittings. This will include The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, which was a wedding gift to Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, later Queen Mary, on the occasion of her marriage to the future King George V in 1893. 

While the Platinum Jubliee: The Queen’s Coronation exhibition will be held at Windsor Castle from July 7 to September 26, 2022, featuring the Coronation Dress and Robe of Estate designed by British couturier Sir Norman Hartnell worn by The Queen for her Coronation at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953, will be on display. 

The final exhibition at the Palace of Holyroodhouse will run from July to September, featuring outfits worn by Her Majesty on occasions to celebrate the Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees. This will include the pink silk crepe and chiffon dress, coat and stole by royal couturier Sir Hardy Amies for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, which will be displayed with the matching hat designed by Simone Mirman with flowerheads hanging from silk stems.

Image: Design by Chris Seydou (c) Nabil Zorkot / Imane Ayissi, Catwalk Image, SpringSummer 2020 by Fabrice Malard

‘Africa Fashion’ to open in London

London’s V&A Museum will celebrate the “irresistible creativity, ingenuity and unstoppable global impact of contemporary African fashions” with a major ‘Africa Fashion’ exhibition opening in June 2022. 

The exhibition is curated by Dr Christine Checinska, the museum’s new curator of African and African Diaspora fashion and will celebrate the vitality and innovation of Africa’s vibrant fashion scene, as well as explore how music and the visual arts form a key part of Africa’s cultural renaissance.

Running from June 11, 2022, to April 16, 2023, ‘Africa Fashion’ will bring together more than 250 objects, drawn from the personal archives of a selection of mid-twentieth century and influential contemporary African fashion creatives, such as Shade Thomas-Fahm, Chris Seydou, Kofi Ansah, and Alphadi, alongside textiles and photographs from the V&A’s collection.

Commenting on the exhibition, Dr Christine Checinska, V&A’s curator of African and African Diaspora fashion, said in a statement: “The exhibit will present African fashions as a self-defining art form that reveals the richness and diversity of African histories and cultures.

“To showcase all fashions across such a vast region would be to attempt the impossible. Instead, Africa Fashion will celebrate the vitality and innovation of a selection of fashion creatives, exploring the work of the vanguard in the twentieth century and the creatives at the heart of this eclectic and cosmopolitan scene today. We hope this exhibition will spark a renegotiation of the geography of fashion and become a game-changer for the field.”

Image: “Veil Flag” by S.R. STUDIO. LA. CA., 2020, courtesy of Sterling Ruby Studio, photography by Melanie Schiff

The Costume Institute continues its focus on American fashion

The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City opens the second part of its exhibition dedicated to American fashion on May 7, 2022, in the American Wing period rooms

‘Part two, In America: An Anthology of Fashion’ will explore the development of American fashion by presenting narratives that relate to the complex and layered histories of those spaces featuring women’s and men’s historical and contemporary dress dating from the 18th century to the present in vignettes.

There will be a series of three-dimensional cinematic “freeze frames” produced in collaboration with notable American film directors. These mise-en-scènes will explore the role of dress in shaping American identity and address the complex and layered histories of the rooms. 

Both exhibitions will run until September 5.

Image: Bethany Williams

Design Museum to celebrate Bethany Williams

London Fashion Week designer Bethany Williams is to be celebrated by the Design Museum in spring 2022 with a new exhibition embracing the discussion of social and environmental issues. The free exhibition will explore Williams’ socially and environmentally aware work, featuring pieces from collaborations with community projects and items composed from recycled materials. 

The exhibit will also include work produced by the London-based designer as part of the Emergency Designer Network to create PPE during the pandemic.

Image: Groninger Museum/Versace

Groninger Museum to showcase retrospective on Gianni Versace

The late Gianni Versace, described by the Groninger Museum as one of the “most influential couturiers” in fashion is to be the focus of the ‘Gianni Versace Retrospective’ exhibition , which will run from December 2, 2022, to May 7, 2023. 

The exhibition will be a “colourful, daring, emotional exhibition” that honours Versace and his trailblazing designs, showcase men’s and women’s outfits, accessories, fabrics, drawings, interior designs, and footage of the legendary catwalk shows from the Italian designer’s glory days between 1989 and 1997.

Curated by Versace experts Karl von der Ahé and Saskia Lubnow, all items on display are original pieces sourced from international private collections and will highlight how Versace linked fashion with music, photography and graphic design and led the way in the transformation of fashion shows and advertising campaigns into works of art.