Fashion Exhibitions to Visit Now in London
Words: Charlotte Brohier
Anyone mourning the loss of summertime as the nights draw in can take comfort in one thing — those flourishing maroon leaves landing everywhere from Hampstead Heath to Hackney Downs are a call for action — wardrobe action.
There’s no denying that the new season brings with it a chance for new perspectives and fresh looks. As to be expected from our stylish city, London’s gone all out and pulled up its fashionable socks (over-the-knee and block colour, since you ask). Whether or not you know your vintage from your Vivienne Westwood, we’ve found the best places to get some inspiration over the next few months…
Think Fashion and think Big Personalities. And all the better when those dahling personalities come in pairs. We’re thinking Edina and Patsy, Dolce and Gabbana, Posh and Becks, all doing their ‘thang’ with iconic flair. In a world where extravagance is king and more is most definitely more, it seems double is not always trouble.
The Fashion Space Gallery, located within the hallowed walls of London College of Fashion, has gone all out to show the catalytic glamour of stylish minds fusing. Seven selected duos from diverse disciplines within the industry have been called upon to show never-before-seen photography, sketches, garments, films and prints. The exhibition offers the full array of fashion doyennes, from big names like Alexander McQueen to his lesser known collaborator, jewellery designer Shaune Leane.
If you’re not completely hot to trot on your fashionistas, the exhibition is a rare opportunity to learn your A-Z of the chic crowd. Think fashion designer Gareth Pugh, filmmaker Ruth Hogben, Rick Owens and muse Michèle Lamy, Thom Browne and milliner Stephen Jones. And of course, see how creativity can get its most intriguing turn through collaboration. Sounds like a match made in heaven.
London College of Fashion, 20 John Princes Street, W1G 0BJ; until 13th January 2018
Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion
Balenciaga’s inaugural UK show follows both protégés and contemporary talent who’ve sought out the designer’s unique approach. Even if you’re not clued up on Balenciaga’s revolutionary impact, it’s likely you’ll be familiar with some of his most famous creations without even realising. Ever heard of the little black shift dress? How about the tunic, the sack or the babydoll?
Naturally, the ‘master’ of Haute Couture was the go-to dressmaker for every socialite, Hollywood actress and swinging celebrity in the 1950s and ‘60s. This extensive display shows over 100 garments and 20 hats alongside pieces worn by some of the world’s wealthiest and most famed women, including Ava Gardener, Gloria Guinness and Mona von Bismarck. Want to walk out a fully-fledged fashion insider? Not a problem. The process behind Balenciaga’s architectural shapes can be discovered in detail thanks to a series of x-rays, animated patterns and short films on the couture making process.
Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL; until 18 February 2018
The Secret Soirée at Juniper Manor
The Secret Soirée at Juniper Manor is the collaborative brainchild of experiential supper club pioneers Gingerline and Sipsmith Gin. This immersive pop-up has been so successful that its summer run is extended until the end of October. Guests are invited to dress in black and white Victoriana as they’re transported through time to an abandoned secret mansion. Once there, you’ll be greeted with a Sipsmith cocktail before being guided through the labyrinthine bar, where all manner of curious gin-based surprises await.
Mysteries are to be discovered in enigmatic Hogarth paintings and giant swan nests conceal culinary riddles. Following the beguiling narrative of the eccentric Juniper family, guests choose from bar-only entrance or tickets for a full-on time-travelling four-course feast. Gingerline events are now a London legend, as famed for their transfixing designs as their compelling performances.
Juniper Manor, secret location; until the end of October
Styled by Design
Styled by Design at St. James’s Gallery Gray M.C.A is set to be such an iconic exhibition. Fashion has a long history of sourcing ideas from art, and artists themselves often lend a hand to the Vogue set. Focusing purely on the revolutionary relationship between the modern artists and textile manufacturers of the post-war period, Gray M.C.A’s display juxtaposes the work of designers and textile artists working in the same tradition today.
The featured artists include Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, William Scott, Alexander Calder, Pablo Picasso, John Piper, and Zandra Rhodes, so… you get the picture.
Gray M.C.A at Gallery 8, 8 Duke Street St. James’s, SW1Y 6BN; 3rd–7th October