Over the years, London has proved itself more than worthy of its reputation as one of the fashion capitals of the world. From Kate Moss to Vivienne Westwood, Twiggy to Stella McCartney, London has become synonymous with style and innovation. The city is a sartorial playground for fashion icons, photographers and designers alike.
This summer season brings five stellar fashion exhibitions to the English capital. These visually rich explorations of fashion, from past to present, give us a fascinating look at one of the world’s biggest and most beautiful industries. Not just for the fashionistas, these exhibitions offer a gorgeous glimpse into history, culture and art from British shores and beyond.
Alexander McQueen- Savage Beauty
Presented by the Victoria and Albert Museum, ‘Savage Beauty’ celebrates one of London’s most famous homegrown design icons, Alexander McQueen. Born and raised in East London, McQueen often said that the city is where he drew his inspiration from, and where his heart lies. His untimely death in 2010 was an incredible loss for the fashion world. This is the largest respective on his career since then, featuring over 200 unique designs as well as a look into his early life in London.
‘Savage Beauty’ has been so popular that the museum has extended the exhibition until 2 August. Open daily from 10:00 to 17:30 (21:30 on Fridays), tickets cost £17.60 and are only available to purchase on the day. We recommend getting there early to nab yours, and keep in mind that last tickets for the day are sold at 16:15.
Riviera Style: Resort and Swimwear since 1900
What better way to celebrate the style of summer than with a look at beach-side trends that span a century, presented by the London Fashion and Textile Museum? From the Côte d’Azur to the English Riviera (yes, that exists!) and the California coast, this fun exhibition explores not only the changing styles, but also the technological developments in materials that led to creative and flirtatious design.
Running until 13 September, you can find details of the Riviera Style exhibition opening hours here. Tickets are £8.80 and last admissions are 45 minutes before close each day.
Shoes: Pleasure and Pain
Another offering by the Victoria and Albert Museum, this show exhibits footwear extremes from around the world and across history. ‘Shoes: Pleasure and Pain’ explores themes such as transformation, status, seduction, creation, and obsession – weaving the tale of how footwear has played a role in our culture, stories and symbols. With over two hundred features, from Ancient Egyptian gold plated sandals to the most modern catwalk designs, this isn’t just an exhibition for stiletto lovers.
Running until January 2016, you can book the £12 tickets in advance by calling the museum on +44 (0)800 912 6961, or in person. Open daily from 10:00 to 17:30 (21:30 on Fridays).
Fashion on the Ration: 1940s Street Style
Presented by the Imperial War Museum, this is a fascinating insight into wartime dress-sense. Exploring how fashion not only survived the austerity and severe rationing of WWII England but blossomed beneath it, ‘Fashion on the Ration’ offers a less common perspective into life during a World War.
The show runs until 31 August and is open daily from 10:00- 18:00, with last admission at 17:30. Tickets cost £10- you can book them here.
Designs of the Year
The London Design Museum’s ‘Design of the Year awards’ isn’t a pure fashion exhibition but it warrants a mention here because of the sheer eccentricity and eclecticism of the items on show. The exhibition celebrates the designs of the future in every channel from graphics and furniture to ultra-modern fashion. With such a diverse range of pieces on show (including a human cell-lined microchip design), this exhibition really does have something for everyone.
Designs of the Year runs until 31 August, with £13 tickets available to book here.