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A look from the Thierry Mugler haute couture autumn/winter 1995-1996 show, featured in the “Thierry Mugler: Couturissime” exhibition in Paris, one of several fashion-themed museum exhibitions around the world this autumn. Photo: Patrice Stable

From Thierry Mugler and Karl Lagerfeld in Paris to Antwerp, cradle of modern Belgian fashion, and the Met’s Costume Institute, fashion-themed exhibitions to see this autumn

  • A Thierry Mugler retrospective with photography by Karl Lagerfeld, Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts and others in Paris, and three takes on fashion at MoMu Antwerp
  • Four centuries of American fashion on show in New York, and Chelsea counterculture revisited in London – for fashion lovers who can travel there’s lots to see

It may seem like “one step forward, two steps back” when it comes to the reopening of the world to the travelling public, but the day is surely approaching. And when it arrives, there will be plenty of new or roving fashion-related exhibitions to explore.

Here are some of the best.

Originally presented at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 2019, “Thierry Mugler: Couturissime” is making a stop at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, in Paris, where the French designer made his mark in the 1980s and ’90s. The show retraces his opus, spanning ready-to-wear to stage costumes, photographs and film.

Divided into acts, the exhibition features the flamboyant silhouettes of some of Mugler’s most iconic looks vying for attention with photographs by the likes of Guy Bourdin, Karl Lagerfeld, David LaChapelle, Herb Ritts, Helmut Newton and Mugler himself.
A look from the Thierry Mugler haute couture spring/summer 1997 show – a rubber suit with “tyre” effect made in collaboration with Abel Villarreal. Photo: Patrice Stable

George Michael’s 1992 video for Too Funky, which Mugler directed, is also part of the show, as are costumes he designed for productions such as Macbeth for the Comédie-Française in 1985.

From September 30

Signature quilt, “Tumbling Blocks” pattern by Adeline Harris Sears.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, in New York, which hosts the annual Met Gala, a significant fixture in the fashion calendar, is looking close to home with the unveiling of a two-part exhibition that will explore American fashion.

Part one, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion”, will showcase a signature quilt from the museum’s American Wing collection, begun in 1856 by Adeline Harris Sears and made of small, diamond-shaped squares signed by some of the most famous Americans of the period. Part two, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion”, will feature clothes dating from the 18th century to the present day in vignettes installed in the museum’s American Wing.

“Over the past year, because of the pandemic, the connections to our homes have become more emotional, as have those to our clothes. For American fashion, this has meant an increased emphasis on sentiment over practicality,” says Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu curator in charge of the Costume Institute.

From September 18 (Part one) and May 5 (Part two)

The Fool outside The Beatles Apple Boutique for which they also painted the Mural, 1967. Copyright Karl Ferris

From hard-to-find vintage gems to luxury pieces from heritage British brands and the best men’s tailoring in the world, London has always been a shopping mecca, attracting fashion lovers from around the world. A new exhibition at the city’s Fashion and Textile Museum, in Bermondsey, puts the spotlight on a number of boutiques in the Chelsea neighbourhood that made waves in the 1960s.

“Beautiful People: The Boutique in 1960s Counter­culture” will recreate the interiors of iconic shops such as Granny Takes a Trip, Hung On You, Apple, Biba, Mr Fish, Thea Porter and Ossie Clark. Clothes worn by The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and other luminaries who frequented these shops will also be part of the rich display.

From October 1

A dress from the collection of the MoMu on show at the museum in Antwerp, Belgium

From Dries Van Noten to Martin Margiela, Raf Simons and Ann Demeulemeester, the Belgian port city of Antwerp has nurtured some of the great fashion designers of the past three decades.

MoMu Antwerp, the city’s fashion museum, is reopening this month after an extensive renovation undertaken by Belgian studio B-Architecten. The institution is staging three exhibitions: “E/MOTION. Fashion in Transition”, which looks at the role fashion plays in society, highlighting issues such as the female body, 9/11, identity and surveillance; “P. LACE. S – Looking through Antwerp Lace”, which focuses on the lace trade and industry in Antwerp; and “Fashion from the MoMu Collection”, a display of the museum’s permanent collection, which includes garments from Belgian and international designers.

From September 4