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The 5 fashion exhibitions in London to have on your radar in 2024

From the first ever Biba exhibition to a show dedicated to Naomi Campbell’s career, these are the must-see fashion shows to have on your radar

This year, London further cements its standing as the UK’s fashion and culture capital with a host of exciting new fashion exhibitions in 2024. From the first ever London exhibition of legendary Sixties designer Biba at the Fashion Textile Museum to a dazzling retrospective of Naomi Campbell’s inimitable style at the V&A, these shows are guaranteed to be the hottest tickets in town. Here, we’ve rounded up the London fashion exhibitions you won’t want to miss.

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Fashion Exhibitions in London

The Biba Story, 1964 – 1975
Fashion Textile Museum
22 March – 8 September

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Barbara Hulanicki, 1964. © Barbara Hulanicki

Top of the list for new fashion exhibitions in 2024 is this retrospective on Biba, which delves into the history of storied British brand. Entitled The Biba Story: 1964-1975, the show marks the first ever London exhibition dedicated solely to Biba, and charts its meteoric rise from a mail order catalogue in 1963 to a seven-storey department store on Kensington High Street a decade later.

Exciting Fashion Exhibitions In London To See In 2024Pin
Twiggy in Biba rainbow room, 1971 © Justin De Villeneuve / Iconic Images

Founded by Barbara Hulanicki, Biba was the first label to create affordable fashion for young people and the brand went on to revolutionise the way women shopped. Come to marvel at the first ever mail-order Biba dress – a simple Gingham shift with a matching headscarf – before exploring the glamorous sequinned bodices, leopard print coats and trouser suits that went on to be worn by the likes of Twiggy, Cher and Anita Pallenberg. Along the way, you’ll learn about the label’s four London shops, with a particular focus on the tiny Abingdon Road boutique that became a centre for Swinging London after it opened in 1964. 

fashiontextilemuseum.org

The Lore of Loverboy
Somerset House
8 June – 1 September

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Glaswegian designer Charles Jeffrey is known for his gender-fluid, punk-inspired brand of luxury streetwear, Loverboy, which has been worn by everyone from Harry Styles to Tilda Swinton. Now the radical creative is being honoured with The Lore of Loverboy at Somerset House; a particularly fitting location considering Jeffrey was one of Somerset House Studios’ original residents and still has his studio there.

Exciting Fashion Exhibitions In London To See In 2024Pin
Exciting Fashion Exhibitions In London To See In 2024Pin
Exciting Fashion Exhibitions In London To See In 2024Pin

The exhibition will offer a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to build a fashion business from scratch, covering everything from the first rush of inspiration to the skill and craftmanship of the atelier and the final spectacle of a fashion show. The immersive fashion exhibition will feature sensorially led spaces created in Loverboy’s signature style, designed to bring his creation process to glorious life. 

somersethouse.org.uk

Naomi: In Fashion
V&A Museum
22 June 2024 – 6 April 2025

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© Steven Meisel

Following hot on the heels of its blockbuster Chanel exhibition, the V&A further reinforces its status as London’s go-to place for fashion exhibitions with this new retrospective on supermodel Naomi Campbell. Naomi: In Fashion will explore the unparalleled 40-year career of the British fashion and cultural icon – from her multiple glossy magazine covers to her brushes with scandal – and marks the first time the museum has ever dedicated a show to a single model.

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Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images for the Victoria & Albert Museum)

Highlights on display include a dramatic 1989 Thierry Mugler car-inspired corset, Campbell’s outfit from Sarah Burton’s last Alexander McQueen show and the infamous pair of staggeringly high Vivienne Westwood platform shoes Campbell wore when she took a tumble on the catwalk in 1993. Keep an eye out for the Dolce & Gabbana gown that she wore on her final day of community service in 2007. Alongside her many fashion triumphs, the new exhibition will also recognise Campbell’s mentors – Nelson Mandela among them – who inspired her to use her platform for social change. 

vam.ac.uk

Sargent and Fashion
Tate Britain
Until 7 July

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John Singer Sargent, Portrait of Miss Elsie Palmer (A Lady in White), 1889-1890. Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (Colorado Springs, USA)
Exciting Fashion Exhibitions In London To See In 2024Pin
John Singer Sargent, Mrs. Hugh Hammersley, 1892. Image copyright The Metropolitan Museum of ArtArt Resource Scala, Florence

Hear the name John Singer Sargent and your mind might not immediately go to the sumptuous fashion on display in his paintings – but that’s exactly what this exhibition at Tate Britain aims to shine a light on. Celebrated for his striking portraits, the show explores how Sargent worked almost like a stylist to craft the image of the sitters he painted.

Exciting Fashion Exhibitions In London To See In 2024Pin
John Singer Sargent, Mrs Carl Meyer and her Children, 1896. Photo © Tate
Exciting Fashion Exhibitions In London To See In 2024Pin
John Singer Sargent, Ena and Betty, Daughters of Asher and Mrs Wertheimer, 1901. Photo © Tate (Joe Humphrys)

Almost 60 of his works are on display in Sargent and Fashion, featuring sitters wearing glamorous ballgowns and slinky evening dresses – several of which are showcased alongside the portraits they were worn in. Sargent often chose the outfits of his sitters, or manipulated their clothing to convey his vision as an artist, and this exhibition highlights the myriad ways in which he used fashion as a powerful tool to express identity and personality

tate.org.uk

Barbie: The Exhibition
The Design Museum
5 July 2024 – 23 February 2025

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1959 Barbie No. 1 © Mattel, Inc

2023 was the year of Barbie, from the cinema screens, where it was the highest-grossing film, to the catwalk, where pink Barbiecore designs reigned supreme. Now the world’s most famous doll is getting her own exhibition at the Design Museum. Opening to mark the 65th anniversary of the Barbie brand, Barbie: The Exhibition will feature over 180 remarkable dolls, as well as many of Barbie’s most iconic dresses and accessories.  

Exciting Fashion Exhibitions In London To See In 2024Pin
1992 Totally Hair Barbie. © Mattel, Inc
Exciting Fashion Exhibitions In London To See In 2024Pin
1984 Peaches ‘N Cream Barbie. © Mattel, Inc

The show opens with one of the earliest first edition Barbie dolls, the ‘Number 1 Barbie’, who appears in a now iconic black-and-white bathing suit. Beyond that the exhibition will highlight the diversity of the Barbie range, with the first Black, Hispanic and Asian dolls on display, as well as the first to use a wheelchair and the first to be designed with a curvy body shape. 

designmuseum.org

 

Main image: Gender Fluid by Tim Walker

 

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