From fashion and religion at the MET to the Azzedine Alaïa retrospective in London and the Margiela exhibition in Paris, take a look at the fashion exhibitions set to define 2018.
Religion has always inspired designers. After last year’s Rei Kawakubo and Comme des Garçons’, theme, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is turning to Christian imagery in fashion for its spring 2018 exhibition, supported by Christine and Stephen A. Schwarzmann, Versace and Condé Nast, and named Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. From delicate, byzantine-inspired Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana dresses, the haute couture Garden of Eden à la Valentino and Balenciaga’s reinterpretation of a cardinal’s cloak, Christian imagery, history and symbols, given their place in the collection imagination, constantly inspire designers who don’t hesitate to draw on the Testaments for their collections. The Costume Institute, the MET’s extensive fashion department, is set to display over 150 pieces playing on the powerful link between Catholicism and fashion this spring. Dresses, coats, jewelry pieces and accessories straight from the wardrobe of a Christian princess will be exhibited across three large spaces from May 10 to October 8, 2018. In an exceptional gesture, the Vatican will be lending the exhibition around 50 pieces, some of which come from the Sistine Chapel, including Papal robes, jewelry pieces, tiaras and other ecclesiastical treasures dating from the 18th Century to the present day. As the theme of the MET’s fashion exhibition also dictates the theme of its prestigious annual gala, guests of the party will have to inspire their dress with Christian imagery. Who out of Rihanna, Amal Clooney and Donatella Versace, the evening’s hosts, will make the biggest impression on the red carpet? Find out May 7, 2018.·
Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, from May 10 to October 8 2018, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
When he passed away in November, Azzedine Alaïa left a fashion world devastated by his loss, but enriched by his work. His signature elegance and precise cutting have already earnt him a retrospective at the Design Museum in London, opening 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. Each piece is steeped in fashion history, charting the evolution of one of the few designers who worked the fabric against the models, rather than from sketches, to create garments that have become collector’s items. With a focus on the most luxe of fabrics, Azzedine Alaïa combined his own craftsmanship with innovative materials and modern techniques and in tribute to his 35 years of couture, new pieces have also been commissioned for the show, allowing artists and designers alike to create their own tribute to one of the most passionate designers in the business.
Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier – from May 10, to October 7, 2018, Design Museum - 224-238 Kensington High St, Kensington, London
After a tribute to Cristóbal Balenciaga in 2017, the Palais Galliera fashion museum in Paris has announced that it will be dedicating a major retrospective to avant-garde designer Martin Margiela in March 2018. Fashion’s most secretive figure started Maison Martin Margiela in 1988 and went on to make his mark on the industry with a conceptual approach and taste for deconstruction and innovation, through collections that were hailed in their time as jewels of modernity, technicality and minimalism. Curated by Olivier Saillard, the Musée de la Mode de Paris fashion museum will bring together the label’s signature pieces, alongside archive examples of the numerous influences on the Belgian designer’s work and rare interviews.
Margiela/Galliera, du 3 mars au 15 juillet 2018, Palais Galliera
Martin Margiela was named creative director of Hermès in October 1997. The famously discrete Belgian designer, who also co-founded Maison Martin Margiela in 1988, stayed with the house until 2003, exploring his love of deconstruction and innovation within the Parisian label known for its incredible heritage. The MoMu in Anvers dedicated an exceptional exhibition to these audacious years for Hermès, attracting visitors from around the world until late August this year. In 2018, the same exhibition will come to the Arts Décoratifs in Paris, showcasing the most iconic pieces sourced from the 12 collections the designer created for the house during his tenure. The exhibition will highlight how technical and stripped back his work was, using recycled fabrics (something unheard of at the time) to make veritable gems of modernity. A must-see.
Margiela : les années Hermès, from March 22 to September 2, 2018, Musée des Arts décoratifs
Remember the Calvin Klein gown made from recycled plastic bottles worn by Emma Watson to the MET Gala in 2016? From April, it will be on show at London’s V&A Museum, alongside bags crafted from pineapple fiber, a cockerel feather cape and 300 other exceptional pieces. As a comprehensive exploration of the links between couture and nature, Fashioned from Nature is a deep dive into how flora, fauna and the natural world have influenced fashion design over the years.
Fashioned From Nature, Victoria and Albert Museum, from April 21, 2018, until January 27, 2019.
The Fashion Institute of Technology will be exploring pink in all its glorious facets with an exhibition tickled pink by the exceptional pieces it is set to display next fall. Often synonymous with innocence and femininity, pink has garnered a much greater nuance over the years and through different cultures. Both seductive and independent, the color is nothing if not divisive, deemed a soft candor and the height of vulgarity all at once. The FIT will be delving deeper into the depths of the colors with its exhibition Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color, which promises to be one of the year's finest.
Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color, from Septmber 7, 2018 to January 5, 2019, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York