Exhibition Reviews

Most of these exhibitions finished a while ago but you might be interested in my thoughts on them and there are plenty of photos to look at!. The most recent visits are at the top of the list and might be ongoing at the time you’re reading this.

I visited a new autumn/winter 2021 exhibition at the Fashion and Textiles Museum recently. ‘Beautiful People:the boutique in 1960s counterculture’ is a trip down memory lane for some, a delve into the archives for others. Either way there are plenty of diverse and colourful outfits on show.

At the start of 2020, before Lockdown, a beautiful show opened at the V&A showcasing the complex and fascinating history of kimono. It was a stunning journey through a type of clothing of which I have no experience.

Zandra Rhodes has always been unique in her vision, her textile designs are the primary inspiration for her clothes. I was delighted to meet Zandra at the event for the launch of her exhibition and the book celebrating her 50 year career.

If you love shoes there was a gorgeous exhibition at the Wallace Collection last summer when it celebrated the career of shoe designer Manolo Blahnik. From there I went on the Alexander McQueen flagship store in Bond Street to see the temporary, and changing, show on the second floor. I visited again later in the near when the next show-Roses-had opened. Highly recommended!

Mary Quant is designer of worldwide fame and responsible for some of fashion’s most iconic styles and innovations. This was a hugely popular exhibition at the V&A in London

We all remember Christian Dior as the creator of the New Look in 1957 and this blockbuster exhibition in London in 2019 showcased many of his designs and those the designers who have carried on his legacy since, including John Galliano and Maria Grazia Chiuri.

My review of the Paris Sewcial also contains my thoughts on the Yves St Laurent museum in the city.

I didn’t know what to expect from the Fashioned from Nature exhibition in 2018 but it turned out to be far more than just beautiful clothes. It was a thought-provoking examination of the clothing and textiles industries worldwide and what the future could hold by way of innovation, or catastrophe.

If you enjoy watching Strictly Come Dancing in the UK (or Dancing with the Stars in most other countries) then you might enjoy my two part review of the costumes I saw whilst on holiday in 2017, and then my visit to DSI London to see where the costumes are made in 2019. Workroom Manager and pattern cutter Theresa Hewlett gave me an exclusive tour. Not ‘strictly’ exhibitions but lots of insider info.

Night and Day was a showcase of fabulous gowns from the 20s and 30s at the Fashion and Textiles Museum.

Anni Albers was a textile artist whose work I was unfamiliar with but I’m so glad I went along to this show at Tate Modern in London.  

The combination of an English stately home and 500 years of fashion displayed inside it was irresistible and I was able to go twice, even though I live miles away from Chatsworth in Derbyshire!

I highly recommend an afternoon looking inside couture garments at FTM if you get the chance. To see how these handmade clothes are put together is a fascinating insight into the craft of couturiers.

I loved the Balenciaga show because, once again, you could really see inside the simple yet complex clothes that the Spanish couturier made.

The Henry Moore Foundation is outside London near the Hertfordshire/Essex border. Many of his monumental sculptures are on display in settings around his home and gardens exactly as he chose them to be.

I nearly didn’t go to the Sam McKnight show but, as is almost always the case, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I followed it with a visit to the blink-and-you-miss-it Burberry show.

The Sewing Machine Museum in south London is a treasure trove of sewing machine related memorabilia. It’s open monthly so check the website if you’re planning a visit, and they have a terrific fabric and haberdashery store right next door!

The Jazz Age at FTM was another small but perfectly formed show of stunning gowns and accessories from the 1920s.

The Fabric of India show had a tough act to follow because it was the exhibition which followed after Savage Beauty at the V&A. There was much to admire and learn though about the centuries of artistry

I’m going back a long while now but the show which ran at Tate Britain concurrently to Savage Beauty followed Alexander McQueen through the whole process of his Horn of Plenty collection.

If you’re wondering why I haven’t written a review of Savage Beauty it’s simply because no one was allowed to take photographs in the show. I always take and use my own photos but in this particular case it would never be possible to do it any kind of justice anyway. I joined the V&A as a member specifically to see this show and in the end I went eight times. I think it will always remain my favourite exhibition (although Dior:Designer of Dreams does come close) I was so sad when I knew I was visiting the show for the last time. If it arrives in city near you one day do NOT miss the opportunity to see it.

Liberty of London have a long history of outstanding textile design and this show at the Fashion and Textiles museum showcased just some of the sheer variety of cloth and clothing created over 140+ years.