6 fashion exhibitions you must see this year including Heavenly Bodies at the Met, Azzedine Alaïa's final curation and Dior: From Paris to the World

6 fashion exhibitions you must see this year including Heavenly Bodies at the Met, Azzedine Alaïa's final curation and Dior: From Paris to the World

Feast the eyes

Text: Debby Kwong

Editor: Jolene Khor

What's it going to be — Azzedine Alaïa's final curation, Dior's global legacy, the Met Museum's Catholic interpretation, YSL's dreams of Asia, the colour pink's cultural revolution or fashion's relationship with nature?

Here's a travel idea for you culture vultures out there: Fly across London, Paris, New York and Colorado to take in the rich histories of gorgeous fashion at the most stunning exhibitions this year.

At New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art (aka The Met), "dressing in your Sunday best" gets redefined with otherworldly outfits inspired by Catholicism. Venture downtown to be tickled pink by Schiaparelli's 1930 'Shocking Pink' dress, Yves Saint Laurent's 1960s cocktail numbers, and modern ensembles from Alessandro Michele of Gucci, Jeremy Scott of Moschino, and Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

The City of Lights isn't the only place you can get up close to couture; you can very well appreciate Azzedine Alaïa's creations at the Design Museum in London. "No other dress can make a woman look and feel as good as an Alaïa dress because it cinches the body perfectly," said Naomi Campbell. The exhibition of sensual dresses on mannequins with exaggerated heights explores the Tunisian designer's extraordinary work, spanning his prolific career from the early '80s to his very last masterpieces towards the end of 2017.

Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier

If Fashioned From Nature at the V&A can't push you to be more involved with the sustainability of fashion, very little else will. Here, you'll learn about alternative raw materials, new biomaterials and the latest technology that dramatically reduces the environmental impact of the dyeing process. 

Across the pond, the Dior exhibition at Denver, Colorado seems a a mismatch, but curator Florence Müller begs to differ: "Through thematic exhibition sections, begin to understand how the Americas contributed to the success of the house over a seven-decade period." The exhibition focuses on North and South American patrons' part in continuing the house's legacy after WWII by purchasing sophisticated designs featuring soft shoulders, accentuated busts and nipped waists.

More details below.

What: The Met examines fashion's on-going engagement with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism through Vatican-loaned pieces, including papal robes and accessories from the Sistine Chapel sacristy which date back to the 18th century. Fashions from the early twentieth century to the present show how designers such as Gianni Versace, Cristóbal Balenciaga and Riccardo Tisci were inspired by Catholicism, the mosaics seen in church, angels and the secular clergy.
When: From now till October 8, 2018
Where: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

    What: Co-curated by Azzedine Alaïa before his death in November 2017, the exhibition showcases 60 iconic pieces chosen by the couturier himself. "There was no one who did what he did. No one knew a woman's body like him. He should be celebrated as one of the greatest fashion designers the world has ever known," said Lady Gaga. Not intended to be a retrospective, the journey within the exhibition is told through lightness, and charts the evolution of one of the few designers who worked the fabric against the models, (rather than from sketches), and refused to bow to the deadlines of fashion week. Expect exclusive insight into the personal stories of his life including dresses which show off the late designer's signature designs, craftsmanship and use of innovative materials and modern techniques during his 35 years of couture coup.
    When: From now to October 7, 2018
    Where: Design Museum, London

    6 fashion exhibitions you must see this year including Heavenly Bodies at the Met, Azzedine Alaïa's final curation and Dior: From Paris to the World (фото 1)

    What: To incite change, this exhibition aims to get you thinking about the future of fashion and our planet. Spanning 400 years of fashion, stunning garments inspired by nature's breathtaking beauty will be on display, and so will the damaging impact fashion has had on our environment. Showcasing popular styles from as far back as the 17th century, the compelling curation includes a pair of earrings from 1875 formed from the heads of two real Honeycreeper birds — a hugely popular item sold in enormous volume at the time. The Calvin Klein dress made entirely from recycled water bottles worn by Emma Watson to the Met Gala 2016, seminal designs from Vivienne Westwood and pieces from sustainable pioneer Stella McCartney will also be highlighted.
    When: From now to January 27, 2019
    Where: Victoria and Albert Museum, London


    What: Millennial pink is still having a major moment, but pink has definitely made its mark throughout the history of style. By positioning men's, women's, and children's pink clothing from both Western and non-Western cultures — including India, Africa, Mexico, and Japan — in a historical context, this exhibition of 80 outfits will challenge traditional notions of the femininity long associated with the saccharine shade.
    When: From now to January 5, 2019
    Where: The Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City

    What: Discover the exquisite detailing of 150 haute couture dresses at this chronological exhibition tracing the history of the iconic French fashion house. "Artistic interpretation has always been a key factor to the House of Dior's success in creating a global legacy for the French haute couture house," explained the exhibition's curator Florence Muller. Observe the evolution of the brand's aesthetic under founder, Christian Dior to his successors Yves-Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons, and Maria Grazia Chiuri. Must-sees include the iconic Bar suit, a haute couture dress worn by Elizabeth Taylor and exclusive never-before-seen runway footage.
    When: From November 18, 2018 to March 3, 2019
    Where: Denver Art Museum, Colorado

    Dior: From Paris to the World


    As the first temporary thematic exhibition since the opening of the Musée, Yves Saint Laurent: Dreams of the Orient will bring together approximately 50 high fashion designs inspired by India, China and Japan. These pieces from the collection of the museum have never been seen by the public prior, and will be be displayed in dialogue with Asian artworks borrowed from the Musée national des arts asiatiques — Guimet and private collectors bringing new perspectives on the couturiers' work. 
    When: From October 2, 2018 to January 27, 2019 
    Where: Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris 

    6 fashion exhibitions you must see this year including Heavenly Bodies at the Met, Azzedine Alaïa's final curation and Dior: From Paris to the World (фото 2)

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