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Fashion is so much more than just the clothes we wear. It plays an essential role in our culture and self-expression. So it’s not surprising that this year, a number of major museums around the world are dedicating special exhibitions to the way fashion is created, its history and its lasting influence on our lives.
Here, we rounded up five major museum fashion exhibits that already have the industry buzzing with excitement. Bonus point—they will all be held in some of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Christian Louboutin, Exhibition[iste]
This exhibition dedicated to the iconic French shoe designer will explore the inspiration behind his famous red-soled stilettos as well as take you behind the scenes of his creative process. The show will also include works of art—both from his own personal collection and loans from other collectors—that have influenced Louboutin’s footwear throughout his career. Needless to say, a very large selection of shoes will be displayed as well as some that have never been exhibited before.
The Palais de la Porte Dorée, where the exhibition is being held, has a special place in Louboutin’s world. He borrowed a lot of motifs from the Palais in some of his first designs. The institution also inspired one of his most iconic designs—the Pigalle shoe—after he saw a “No high heels” sign in it.
26 February - 26 July 2020, Palais de la Porte Doreé, Paris
About Time: Fashion and Duration
This year’s fashion exhibit at the Costume Institute is dedicated to time and the concept of duration. The show will trace more than 150 years of fashion and explore the past, present, and future in the context of clothes. To make it even more interesting, the museum plans to use Virginia Wolf as a “ghost narrator” through her writings.
7 May - 7 September, 2020, The Met, New York
Margiela is one of the few designers whose work and conceptual approach to fashion has had a lasting impact on the entire industry. The Belgian designer founded his eponymous label in the 1980s after working for Jean-Paul Gaultier. While he was famously private—he never gave interviews or posed for magazines—his work spoke volumes.
Now, he is stepping back into the spotlight with an exhibition dedicated to his artistic work—from drawings to collages and sculptures, the designer will show another side of his creative genius.
12 June - 13 September 2020, Lafayette Anticipations, Paris
Prada. Front and Back
Believe it or not, there hasn’t been a major fashion exhibit dedicated to the genius of Miuccia Prada until now. For this show, the Design Museum in London was given “unprecedented insight into Prada’s creative approach, inspirations and landmark collaborations.”
The exhibition will explore not just Prada as one of the most successful luxury fashion houses but it will also pull the curtain on its creative director and how her personal interest in art, architecture, and design influenced her work.
From September 2020, Design Museum, London
Before his sudden death in 1957, Christian Dior had completed 22 collections in the span of ten years and many of those—starting with his iconic New Look—remain influential to this day.
This exhibition in the Hague will focus mostly on Dior’s work through the designer’s sketches, photographs, jewelry, and costumes, a lot of which were actually made in Germany. But it will also explore the designs of his successors—from Gianfranco Ferre to Maria Grazia Chiuri—and Dior’s influence on them.
10 October - 28 February 2021, Kunstmuseum, The Hague
Kimono: Fashioning Identities
This year, two major museums are hosting exhibitions dedicated to the traditional Japanese garment and Tokyo’s National Museum is one of them.
It traces back the origins of the kimono some eight hundred years ago when it was called “kosode” and served primarily as an undergarment. Today, the kimono is not only a symbol of Japan but it has also found its place among fashion’s most timeless and recognizable designs. The museum promises that this exhibit will be a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” and we can’t wait to see it.
April 14 – June 7, 2020, Tokyo National Museum