London - It’s the start of a new year, signalling new chances, inspirations and designs to be made in fashion. However, there is nothing like being able to see fashion in real life, to be able to experience the creative process which goes into design up close and in person. Fashion exhibitions are a great way to explore the roots of some of the leading fashion houses, fashion trends and movements which have come to shape and define the industry’s history, which is why FashionUnited has rounded up the top ten must-see fashion exhibitions opening in 2017, as well as ones to catch before they close this year.
Hubert De Givenchy - To Audrey with Love
Where: The Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, The Netherlands
French couturier Hubert de Givenchy, founder of fashion house Givenchy, is said to be one of the leading designers of the 20th century. Together with the likes of Christian Dior and Cristóbal Balenciaga, he has left his mark in the history of haute couture. This grand retrospective of his work, entitled Hubert de Givenchy – To Audrey with Love was created together with the designer himself and offers visitors a unique glimpse into his career, from the opening of his fashion house in 1952 up until his retirement in 1995, focusing on some of de Givenchy’s personal favourite designs. What’s more, the exhibition also focuses on his friendship with iconic actress Audrey Hepburn, featuring designs wore by Hepburn as well as sketches, photographs and movie stills.
When: November 26, 2016 to March 26, 2017
Photo: To Audrey with Love exhibition, Don-Alvin Adegeest, FashionUnited
Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear
Where: The Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK
If you have ever wondered about the history of lingerie, or the evolution of the bra, then this is the exhibition for you. The Victoria & Albert Museum is currently hosting the largest exhibition of underwear design to ever go on display, showcasing over 200 pieces. Entitled Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear, the exhibition highlights the changes in design, themes and innovation in undergarments from the 18th century to the present day. It includes custom-made, rare pieces such as the ‘stays’ worn by a working woman in England in the 18th century to lingerie from the linkes of Stella McCartney, Rigby & Peller and Paul Smith. In addition, the exhibition aims to explore the relationship between fashion and lingerie, looking at our notion of the ideal body, sex and morality.
When: April 16, 2016 through March 12, 2017
Photo: Courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum
Peter Lindbergh - A Different Vision of Fashion Photography
Where: Kunsthal, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh is perhaps one of industry’s most celebrated artists. He has been credited with launching the careers of 1990s supermodels Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz and Christy Turlington and his work continues to be renowned throughout the industry. Unlike other fashion photographers, who used fashion, glamour and sex to create their ultimate fantasies, Lindbergh main goal has always been to capture the pure and raw essence of his subjects with the actual garments acting as an afterthought. This, combined with his passion for storytelling, landscapes and dance is the focus of his debut international travelling exhibition A Different Vision on Fashion Photography a retrospective curated by Thierry Maxime-Loriot, which features over 220 photographs including never before seen photos, sketches, personal notes and other artifacts from Lindbergh’s personal archives.
When: September 10, 2016 through to February 12, 2017
Photo: Press Preview at the Kunsthal, © Simon Trel Photography
Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion
Where: The Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK
The V&A is set to host another major fashion exhibition this year, which celebrates the work of couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga. Entitled Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion the retrospective marks the UK’s first exhibition on the couturier’s work and coincides with the 100th anniversary of Balenciaga’s first store opening in San Sebastián, Spain and the 80th anniversary of the opening of his famed Paris salon. The exhibition is will closely examine the craftsmanship and skill which made the designer’s creation so unique, while exploring how his designs shaped future creations. It will feature over 100 garments and 20 hats made by the couturier as well as never before seen sketches, film, photographs and fabric samples.
When: May 27, 2017, to February 18, 2018
Photo: Courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum
Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons - Costume Institute
Where: The MET, Iris and B.Gerald Canton Exhibition Hall, New York, USA
The Costume Institute’s spring 2017 exhibition is set to focus on the work of Rei Kawakubo and Comme des Garçons. The exhibition will explore Kawakubo’s fascination with interstitiality - the space in between boundaries - and is set to feature 120 womenswear designs for Comme des Garçons. The garments date all the way to Kawakubo’s first runway show in Paris in 1981 to her most recent collection and will be organised thematically instead of chronologically. In order to enhance the state of “in-betweenness” the mannequins used in the exhibition will be shown at eye level, with no physical barriers, in order to break down the usual perceived distance between visitor and object.
When: May 4, 2017 to September 4, 2017
Photo: Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969), “Body Meets Dress - Dress Meets Body,” spring/summer 1997. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, © Paolo Roversi
Marilyn - I Wanna Be Loved By You
Where: Hôtel de Caumont, Centre D’Art, Aix-En-Provence, France
Marilyn Monroe is perhaps one of the most photographed actresses in the history of cinema. She has been photographed by some of the most celebrated photographers of her time: André de Dienes, Milton Greene, Philippe Halsmann, Eve Arnold, Cecil Beaton, Sam Shaw, Ed Feingersh, George Barris, and Bert Stern, all contributed to making her an internationally known icon. The exhibition, named Marilyn, explores the relationship the actress had with photography and the role it played in creating her icon image. Featuring more than sixty photographs, the exhibition follows her career from a pin-up model to an actress to the legendary star and how her exceptional photogenic nature contributed to her rise to fame.
When: October 22, 2016 to May 1, 2017
Photo: by Milton H. Greene © 2016 Joshua Greene - www.archiveimages.com
The World of Anna Sui
Where: Fashion and Textile Museum, London, UK
Anna Sui is one of the most iconic fashion designers in the United States. Her signature rock and roll, romantic style is known for being able to reinvent pop culture time after time, remaining relevant with each new generation. The exhibition The World of Anna Sui tracks her rise to fame, starting with her first catwalk show in 1991 to the present day and explores how her designs have shaped the course of fashion history. Marking the first time that an American designer has been the focus of a retrospective exhibition in the UK, the exhibit features over 100 looks from Anna Sui’s archive, showcasing a roll call of archetypes from the Surfers and School Girls to the Hippies, Mods and Punks.
When: May 26, 2017 to October 1, 2017
Photo: Anna Sui, 2011 © Anna Sui; The World of Anna Sui, book cover 2017
The House of Dior: 70 years of Haute Couture
Where: The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
In honour of the seventieth anniversary of Dior, the French fashion house has teamed up with the National Gallery of Victoria to host a unique retrospective exhibition. Entitled The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture , the exhibition features over 140 garments designed by Christian Dior Couture between 1947 and 2017, making it the largest retrospective from the Dior in Australia. The exhibit explores the history of Dior by examining key pieces from the seven designers who have each played a pivotal role in shaping the fashion house’s identity: Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri. The exhibition also focuses on Christian Dior's early influences, design codes, offers insights into its atelier workrooms as well as the role of accessories.
When: August 27, 2017 to November 7, 2017
Photo: Dior SS17, Catwalkpictures.com
Diana: Her Fashion Story
Where: Kensington Palace, London, UK
Although is has nearly been 20 years since her death, the style of Princess Diana continues to live on and is set to be honoured in a special exhibition at Kensington Palace. Entitled Diana: Her Fashion Story, the exhibit follows the evolution of the late Princess Diana’s style, starting with the demure, romantic outfits of her first public appearances up to the elegant, glamour and sophisticated air she exuded later in life. The exhibition is set to showcase a number of her favourite outfits, including evening gowns worn on engagements in the 1980s, to the Catherine Walker suits that made up Princess Diana’s ‘working wardrobe’ in the 1990s. It is also set to examine her relationship with her favourite designers at the time.
When: Opens February 24, 2017
Yves Saint Laurent Museum
Where: Yves Saint Laurent Museum, Marrakech, Morocco and Paris, France
Not one, but two museums dedicated to the work of the the late Yves Saint Laurents are set to open their doors this year. Located in Paris and Marrakech, the museums are set to offer visitors a closer glimpse into the life and career of the beloved couturier. The latter of the two museums holds special significance as the city itself is said to have a profound effect on the couturier’s lifework. Together the Fondation Pierre Bergé--Yves Saint Laurent and Fondation Jardin Majorelle are set to open the Musee Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech this fall, which will house an selection of the designer’s work. The museum building was designed by French architecture firm Studio KO and is located adjacent to the Jardin Majorelle, which the late designer saved from destruction once up a time together with his onetime partner Pierre Berge in the 1980s.
When: Fall 2017
Photo: Courtesy of Studio KO, Musee Yves Saint Laurent, Marrakech
Homepage Photo: Peter Lindbergh Press Preview at the Kunsthal, © Simon Trel Photography, FashionUnited