Fashionistas across the globe are spoiled for choice when it comes to museum visiting this year, with designer retrospectives in Paris, ballgown collections on display in London and fashion photography expos in Los Angeles. Here is a guide to ten unmissable exhibitions to discover this year.
Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations
Until August 19
New York, USA
With film director Baz Luhrmann acting as creative consultant, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art pays tribute to Italian designers Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, exhibiting about 80 designs by Schiaparelli from the 1920s-1950s and by Prada from the 1980s to the present day, drawn mainly from The Costume Institute’s collection and the Prada archive.
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier
Until August 19
San Francisco, USA
The De Young Museum in San Francisco, California, is honoring Jean Paul Gaultier with a retrospective devoted to his creations spanning from his 1976 ready-to-wear to his 2007 haute couture collections. Entitled From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, it celebrates his avant-garde style and collaborations with Madonna, Lady Gaga and filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, with film clips of concerts, ballets, and fashion shows.
Herb Ritts: L.A. Style
Until August 26
Los Angeles, USA
The Getty Museum in Los Angeles presents late fashion photographer Herb Ritts’s high-drama black and white photographs which helped place him alongside icons such as Richard Avedon and Irving Penn. One of the most lauded works at the expo is the iconic 1989 black and white group shot of Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Stephanie Seymour and Tatjana Patitz.
Britain Creates 2012: Fashion & Art Collusion
Throughout July and August
Taking place to mark the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Britain Creates project has seen leading designers such as Paul Smith and Matthew Williamson each team up with a leading contemporary artist to create a work of art to represent London as a capital for creative excellence. The specially created exclusive pieces are on display at London’s V&A museum until July 29, followed by an installation in department store Selfridges’ ‘Wonder Windows’ during July and August.
Louis Vuitton – Marc Jacobs
Until September 16
The Louis Vuitton – Marc Jacobs exhibition at the city’s museum of Arts Décoratifs celebrates the luxury label’s namesake and its current creative director by comparing and analyzing their achievements and contributions to the fashion industry during very different time periods.
The World of Cristobal Balenciaga
Until October 7
Marking the 40th anniversary of Cristobal Balenciaga’s death, the Cité de la Mode et du Design in Paris presents over 70 ready-to-wear pieces and 40 couture creations made by the label’s namesake himself between 1937 and 1968.
Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion
Until October 8
The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo presents an exhibition focusing on the creativity and cultural background of Japanese fashion. Concentrating on development over the last 30 years, iconic designers including Kenzo Takada, Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto will be in the limelight.
Fashion A-Z – Part 2
Until November 10
New York, USA
This is the second part of the museum at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology’s series displaying their archives, with visitors able to see creations from the likes of Balmain and Ralph Lauren organized all the way through the alphabet to give a sense of the range of the museum’s holdings in modern and contemporary fashion.
Christian Lacroix, La Source et le Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris
Until December 31
This exhibit at the Centre National du Costume de Scène focuses around Christian Lacroix’s costume designs for ballet La Source staged last year in Paris. In addition to presenting the actual costumes for La Source in the context of the stage performance, the exhibition traces the process behind their creation — from the drawing and maquette stage through the labor-intensive fabrication in the costume workshops to the end result put on stage.
Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950
Until January 6, 2013
London’s Victoria & Albert museum presents beautiful ballgowns, red carpet evening dresses and catwalk showstoppers designed for social events such as private parties, royal balls, state occasions and opening nights designed by British fashion designers such as Jenny Packham and Alexander McQueen.
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.