Dior’s largest retrospective at the V&A and five other fashion exhibitions not to miss this year
It’s more than 60 years since French couturier Christian Dior’s death, yet his immense legacy and influence remain as powerful as ever.
Despite Dior’s untimely death due to cardiac arrest in 1947, the brand continued to grow and has dominated in recent years. To honour this, as well a celebrate Dior’s lifetime dedication to creativity and fashion, the V&A museum in London will stage the largest-ever Dior exhibition, beginning in February 2019. The exhibition, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, will trace the history and impact of the couturier, and the six artistic directors who have succeeded him since his death.
Led by curator Oriole Cullen and designer Nathalie Crinière, the exhibition – which is the museum’s biggest fashion exhibition since Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty in 2015 – will make reference to a previous Dior exhibition (Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve) but will add additional exhibition space “to explore the designer’s fascination with British culture”, according to Vogue.co.uk.
The exhibition will present over 500 objects, with over 200 rare haute couture garments, including the dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations, and the iconic bar suit gifted to the museum in 1960.
The iconic Dior bar suit. Spring/summer 1947
Christian Dior’s personal possessions will be shown alongside the label’s accessories, perfume, make-up, photography, film, illustrations and magazines to illustrate the different sensibilities that each successive artistic director – Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons, and Maria Grazia Chiuri – brought to the house since.
The exhibition runs from February 2 to July 14, 2019, at the V&A’s Sainsbury Gallery and tickets will go on sale in autumn 2018. If you can’t wait until then and are eager for a fashion fix, then we have a solution for you: from Heavenly Bodies at The Met Museum in NYC to a complete retrospective of Azzedine Alaïa, here are five fabulous international fashion exhibitions you can see this side of 2018.
Dates: Saturday, April 21, 2018, to November 27, 2019
London’s V&A is currently hosting an in-depth look at the advancement of sustainable fashion. Fashioned from Nature will “examine the complex relationship between fashion and the natural world, looking at how designers from Christian Dior to Dries van Noten have drawn inspiration from the beauty of animals and flowers, as well as the ways that the heavy production demands of the industry have damaged the environment,” says The Telegraph. The exhibition presents more than 300 fashionable objects, including sustainably-produced outfits by Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood, and a Calvin Klein red carpet dress made from recycled plastic bottles, which was worn by actress Emma Watson at the 2016 Met Gala. Tickets are just £12 and you can reserve your place here.
Dates: May 10 to October 8, 2018
The Met Gala is the most prominent event in the fashion calendar and this year’s theme brought more excitement than normal. The exhibition, titled “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”, explores the relationship between fashion and religion through the ages. The exhibition takes place – suitably – in a trinity of locations: the Anna Wintour Costume Center, the medieval galleries at the Met’s Fifth Avenue location, and further uptown at The Cloisters, which is a small museum in uppermost Manhattan specialising in European medieval architecture, sculpture and decorative arts. A fascinating aspect of 2018’s show is the inclusion of papal garb on loan from the Sistine Chapel sacristy. Many of these garments have never been seen outside the Vatican.
Dates: May 10 to October 7, 2018
When he passed away in November, Azzedine Alaïa left a fashion community devastated by his loss but enriched by his work. His signature elegance and precise cutting have already earned him a retrospective at the Design Museum in London, which opened in May. Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier will showcase 60 pieces chosen by the couturier before his death, as part of an exhibition he also co-curated, featuring his most personal and emotive work. Tickets have yet to be released but you can keep an eye out for them here.
Dates: March 3 to July 15, 2018
The Palais Galliera fashion museum in Paris has begun a major retrospective to Belgian avant-garde designer Martin Margiela. The exhibition, which began in March of this year, traces the career, from spring-summer 1989 to spring-summer 2009, of a designer who not only questioned the structure of garments but also challenged the structure of the fashion system. Margiela, whose conceptual approach challenged the fashion aesthetics of his time, constructed a garment by deconstructing it, exposing the inside, the lining, and the unfinished parts, and revealing the different stages of manufacture: pleats, shoulder pads, patterns, bastings and all. Tickets start from €8 and you can find yours here.
Dates: September 7, 2018, to January 5, 2019
The Fashion Institute of Technology will be exploring pink in all its glorious facets this coming September. A colour normally synonymous with little girls, ballerinas, Barbie dolls, and all things feminine, the FIT will delve deeper into the depths of the colour with its exhibition Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color, which promises to be one of the year’s finest. For more information and tickets, click here.