This summer, two major fashion exhibitions will be taking place in London. Until then, you still have time to catch some of the best shows before they close or discover the unexpected in beautiful photography exhibitions.
Last year, we reported on fashion photographer Juergen Teller’s Woo at the ICA, introduced you to 1950s Finnish photographer Claire Aho who showed at the Photographers’ Gallery last summer, commented on collective ICA art show A Journey through London’s Subcultures: 1980s to Now and reviewed filmmaker and photographer Rineke Dijkstra’s impressive retrospect at MMK Frankfurt.
In 2014, London has some great things to show in its museums and galleries. Take a look through our edit and get your diaries out — this year we’re in for some wonderful treats. Expect to be wowed by the beautiful and the outrageous, the unexpected and the notorious…
1. Catch Isabella Blow’s Fashion Galore at Somerset House before it ends on 2 March. The exhibition celebrates the life and wardrobe of the late British patron of fashion and wearer of the most outrageous hats. Having started off as assistant to Anna Wintour at Vogue US she Isabella helped fashion designers Alexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan to worldwide success.
2. From 17 January to 30 March, a small display of Andy Warhol’s photography from the years between 1976 and his death in 1987 will be showcased at the Photographer’s Gallery. Warhol was somewhat of an early instagrammer, if you wish, taking his camera with him wherever he went and capturing numerous serial frames of his surroundings. This will be an exciting insight into the pop artist’s vision as a time witness of New York everyday life of the 1970s and 1980s.
3. Still on until 9 March is Hello My Name Is Paul Smith at the Design Museum. If you haven’t already seen it, make sure you do! The event has been hyped on social media with Sir Paul taking to the Design Museum’s Twitter himself to answer keen beans’ questions. The exhibition draws on Paul Smith’s own archive, with items from his humble beginnings in 1970 Nottingham to the high fashion that he produces today.
4. Currently showing at the V&A’s Room 38a, Making It Up: Photographic Fictions explores the photograph as a medium that, like a painting, tells a story and evokes the imaginary, rather than portraying reality. Works include pieces from 19th century artists up to contemporary photographers including Cindy Sherman and Gregory Crewdson, famous for his elaborately staged cityscapes. Entry is free and the display will be showing until 19 March.
5. On 28 March Room 38a will then make way for Selling Dreams: 100 Years of Fashion Photography in which the works of 20 compelling fashion photographers will be shown that include Helmut Newton, Edward Steichen and David Bailey, as well as contemporary fashion photographers Corinne Day and Rankin. Make sure to see this by 4 May. It contains some iconic and rarely seen works from the V&A collection. You will be surprised how the printed photographs compare to digital copies.
6. On 9 April 2014 two blockbuster fashion exhibitions will be opening. The V&A will be celebrating Italian Fashion from 1945 until today that includes garments from some forgotten Italian fashion designers, as well as pieces from Prada, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci. The exhibition that closes on 27 July has been 3 years in the making so expect to be mesmerised!
7. Over at the Barbican, the first major exhibition dedicated to French enfant terrible Jean Paul Gaultier will be on display between 9 April and 17 August. Taglined with “from the Sidewalk to the Catwalk”, this theatrically staged exhibition will feature over 170 pieces from the couturier’s 35 year oeuvre, including the iconic cone shaped bra that Madonna wore during her 1990 world tour. If the Viktor & Rolf in 2008 is anything to judge by, make sure to bring a lot of time as this is bound to offer a complete insight into Gaultier’s oevre.
8. Catch it before it closes. Club to Catwalk is still showing at the Victoria & Albert Museum until 16 February. Over 85 cutting edge designs are on display that document the creative explosion of fashion in London during the 1980s when underground club culture influenced fashion.
9. Until 17 March, the Science Museum’s new Media Space on the second floor is showcasing Only in England: Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr. The beautiful black and white images document the England of the 1950s to 1970s and its fashions, particularly at the then still booming national seaside resorts. Ray-Jones has been an inspiration to many documentary photographers and his snaps convey the everyday with a healthy portion of quintessentially British humour.
10. Towards the end of the year we are in for another stunner. The Design Museum has dedicated a major exhibition to Women Fashion Power: A Celebration of Exceptional Women. Yep, this one is for us, ladies! Exploring the politics of dressing for success and to impress, the show will focus around the way of dress of influential women across the globe as well as going back to historic figures, all of which are yet to announce. It will be exciting to see how this exhibition takes shape until it opens on 29 October 2014.