Five fashion exhibitions to check out this spring, from New York to Paris to London

An exploration of the relationship between fashion and Catholicism, a tribute to one of the last true dressmakers, a celebration of high-end lace making – there’s all this and more coming up at the world’s top museums

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 March, 2018, 6:01pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 March, 2018, 7:46pm

The next few months promises to be a good time for lovers of international fashion exhibitions, with noble establishments from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Victoria and Albert Museum paying tribute to icons including Azzedine Alaia, Martin Margiela, Iris van Herpen and Frida Kahlo, and houses from Thom Browne to Dior. We’ve picked out five for you to check out.

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

It is fashion’s most awaited yearly exhibition: the annual show by the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, which opens every first Monday in May with the glamorous Met Gala, hosted by Vogue editor Anna Wintour. This year it will tackle a potentially fraught and controversial topic: religion.

The show will explore the relationship between fashion and Catholicism and will include papal vestments from the Vatican and contemporary fashion from labels such as Dolce & Gabbana and Thom Browne.

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Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, May 10 to October 8

Azzedine Alaia: The Couturier

When designer Azzedine Alaia died at the end of last year, the world mourned one of the last true dressmakers – a designer’s designer who has shaped the course of fashion over the last 50 years.

Known for his body-conscious dresses and superb knitwear, Alaia was a diminutive Tunisian-born master beloved by supermodels such as Naomi Campbell and Stephanie Seymour, who considered him family.

The Design Museum in London will celebrate his legacy with a display of more than 60 pieces from Alaia’s oeuvre from the past 35 years.

Azzedine Alaia: The Couturier, Design Museum in London, May 10 to October 7

Margiela / Galliera, 1989-2009

Belgian designer Martin Margiela has never appeared in public or given an interview, even after leaving his eponymous house in 2009. This retrospective at the Palais Galliera, the first in Paris devoted to the creator, focuses on pieces designed between 1989 and 2009 – an extremely productive and successful time for the brand he helmed.

Featuring signature Margiela creations such as his Japanese-inspired tabi boots and outfits made with repurposed vintage fabrics, the display will include more than 100 looks and special installations.

Margiela / Galliera, 1989-2009, Palais Galliera in Paris, March 3 to July 15

Haute Dentelle (Designer Lace)

The town of Calais in northern France is a centre of high-end lace making and even boasts a museum devoted to all things lace. In the past, it has hosted shows dedicated to designers such as Hubert de Givenchy and Cristobal Balenciaga.

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Its upcoming exhibit highlights the contemporary applications by fashion designers of this delicate and luxurious material. This will be shown through the work of illustrious houses such as Dior and Chanel, and independent designers such as Iris van Herpen.

Haute Dentelle (Designer Lace), Cite Dentelle Mode in Calais, June 9, 2018 to January 6, 2019

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up

Mexican artist Frida Kahlo has been an inspiration to the fashion and entertainment world for decades.

From Madonna to Salma Hayek, who portrayed her in a biopic, Kahlo has her fair share of high-profile fans and collectors, who are drawn to her surreal and slightly disturbing paintings.

The Victoria and Albert Museum will pay homage to her exuberant style with an exhibition featuring objects such as prosthetics, medicines, accessories, jewellery, photographs and a wide array of her traditional Tehuana garments.

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, Victoria and Albert Museum in London, June 16 to November 4