2012 Fashion Exhibitions : I Wish I Could See Them All

Sølve Sundsbø, Freja Beha Erichsen (Harper’s Bazaar, March 2008), Peter Lindbergh, Kate Winslet (Harper’s Bazaar, August 2009)

The 10 Exhibitions I won’t want to miss in 2012 are all related Fashion. Given the record-breaking success of last year’s Alexander McQueen retrospective at the Met, museums decided to put more fashion in their halls. While any museum would be hard-pressed to recreate the magic that was “Savage Beauty,” more fashion exhibits are popping up all over the world and several big ones are already on track to debut next year.

Savage Beauty : Alexander McQueen and his creative world!

McQueen’s Atlantis

The following introduction from the Met Museum Site was so interesting and explains everything you need to know about the amazing talent of McQueen. There is a great video with scenes from his inspirational fashion shows, if you want to see it click here!

“McQueen always started every collection with an idea or a concept for the runway presentation before the fashions. After the concept, he would have this elaborate sort of storyboard with these various references from art, from film, from music—his influences from everywhere. There’s a famous story about how he was watching Friends one day, and Joey was wearing a green sweater, and Joey’s green sweater inspired an aspect of his collection. So he was such a sponge that inspiration came from everywhere. The actual creative process in terms of the clothes themselves were often designed directly on the mannequin during a fitting. So fittings, for McQueen, were incredibly important.

I think that McQueen saw life cinematically, and I think that that approach to life was something that you see very clearly on the runway. So his interest in extreme weather conditions was part of that sort of dramatic view of life. And I think that one of the reasons why he loved nature so much was because it was so unpredictable. They were spontaneous; it was something that one can never control, and I think that was always something he liked to show in his collections.

Every collection told a story. When you watched one of McQueen’s collections, you were always having these feelings of awe or wonder or fear or terror. My personal opinion was that McQueen was channeling the Sublime through his collections. And certainly the Sublime experience was something that certainly affected the audience. You were always not sure what to expect when you went into a McQueen show. And you also didn’t know what you felt when you left a McQueen show at the same time. You always were left with sort of feelings of confusion, and McQueen often said that he didn’t care whether you liked his collections or not, as long as you felt something. And the intensity of his collections came from the fact that it was often very much about his state of mind at a particular time. For McQueen the runway was primarily a vehicle to express his imagination. He was very dark. That darkness came from a deep romanticism—the darkest side of the nineteenth century—and that’s what I always felt when I saw his collections. He was deeply political as a designer and I think one of the reasons why McQueen’s collections often were so hard to watch is that they often channeled our cultural anxieties and uncertainties, and that was very much part of his raison d’être.McQueen was well known for upending conventional, normative standards of beauty. He would dress women up in garments that obliterated their features. And certainly the garments that he made can be interpreted as being misogynistic. I think that he felt as if the clothes he was designing for women were armor. So in his mind his clothes were very much to do with empowerment. Fashion wasn’t just about pragmatics; it wasn’t just about wearability. To him, fashion was a vehicle to convey or express complex ideas and complex concepts, but also could use fashion as a way to challenge our boundaries of what we think of as clothing and think about in terms of the requisites or fundamentals of clothing.”

And if today’s piece in WWD on museums “getting fashionable” is any indication, they are. Harold Koda, curator in charge of The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, told the trade, “Clearly the critical as well as popular success of the McQueen show suggests that fashion design has a more secure place in the precincts of an art museum.”

List of Fashion Exhibitions for 2012

From Diana Vreeland to James Bond to the CFDA, here’s a list of fashion exhibitions you won’t want to miss in 2012. (Click the links to get more details)

1. What: “Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada: On Fashion”
Where: The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
When: May 10 – August 19

2. What: “Christian Louboutin,” a retrospective of the designer
Where: Design Museum, London
When: March 28 – July1

3. What: “IMPACT: 50 Years of the CFDA”
Where: The Museum at FIT, New York
When: February 10 – April 17, 2012

4. What: “Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950″
Where: Victoria and Albert Museum, London
When: May 19, 2012 – January 26, 2013

5. What: “Yves Saint Laurent — The Retrospective”
Where: Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado
When: Opens March 25

6. What: “Louis Vuitton Marc Jacobs,” a retrospective of Jacobs’ work at LV
Where: Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris
When: March 9 to September 16

7. What: Diana Vreeland
Where: Fortuny Museum, Venice, Italy
When: March 2012

8. What: “Fifty Years of James Bond Style” with pieces from Giorgio Armani, Prada, Oscar de la Renta and other designers
Where: The Barbican, London
When: April 2012

Also planning to stage retrospective exhibitions next year are Chloé and Balmain, though no further details are known at this time.

Fashion illustration by David Downton.

2012 Fashion Exhibitions : I Wish I Could See Them All!!! Which one are you most excited to go see?

  1. Ahhh… I wish I could see them too Nina…Even thought I have been in an exhibition of Vreeland’s magical wardrobe in the past in NY and I was really stunned….

    1. My favorite fashion exhibitions are usually at the V&A Museum in London but I regret sooo much I didn’t see “Savage Beauty” in NY. 🙁

      Let’s make it a new year resolution .. try to see as many as we can! 🙂


  2. You have a lovely blog here sweetie!!! Thank you for your comment and for following me 🙂 I am now following you 🙂

    Take care,Daniella xox

  3. Tough… I don’t know if I can pick one. You are so privileged to live in a city that offers that to you. Nothing ever comes to New Zealand, so I just have to dream or see these online.
    I usually buy exhibition’s books… my latest purchase being Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty.
    When I was living in Europe I went to as many as I could; I saw Vivienne Westwood, Christian Lacroix and Valentino… the images are still very vivid in my mind.

    X Grazi – Boudoir de la Mode.
    P.S Love the blog!

    1. You live in an amazing country .Oh….the pictures of New Zealand I have seen are breath taking!
      Good idea .. i want to buy the book savage beauty too..
      Vivianne Westwood exhibition i think i saw that years ago at the victoria& albert museum in london!
      I want to visit Australia and New Zealand one day!!!
      Thank you for your comment!
      Have a lovely day!!

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