Everyone is talking about the hugely anticipated Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition, which opens tomorrow (and had a seriously star studded launch party last night.) But don’t forget about these other, just as brilliant, fashion happenings across the country. From wartime fashion to ankle-breaking high heels, Yves Saint Laurent to Princess Charlene of Monaco, you can step inside the minds (and wardrobes) of some of fashion’s most famous faces as we round up the best fashion exhibitions across the UK.
1. Great Names of Fashion at The Fashion Museum, Bath
We love a glamorous gown, and while we may never make it onto the red carpet, we can dream through Bath Fashion Museum’s latest exhibition. Stunning dresses by fashion heavyweights like Chanel, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen are just some of designs on show. The exhibition reaches as far back as the 1900s and it’s clear that our love of sequins and sparkle was shared by our glamorous great-grandmothers.
Great Names of Fashion runs until January 3rd 2017, click here for more info
We love powerful women in history, but we equally love their kick ass wardrobes. From Coco Chanel to Lady Gaga, WOMEN FASHION POWER charts how exceptional women used fashion to express themselves and send a message to the world – who could forget DVF’s iconic wrap dress, Dame Zandra Rhodes’ crazy colours and Margaret Thatcher’s infamous blue suit? Nearly thirty successful women from politics, culture, business and fashion gave up an outfit from their own wardrobes for The Design Museum’s showcase, including Charlotte Olympia, Dame Vivienne Westwood and Princess Charlene of Monaco – now there are some closets we’d love to raid.
WOMEN FASHION POWER runs until April 26th 2015, click here for more info
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3. Fashion on the Ration: 1940s Street Style at Imperial War Museum, London
Talk about make-do-and-mend – wartime fashion was all about getting the most out of your wardrobe and turning practical necessities into stylish accessories – gas mask handbag, anyone? Fashion on the Ration brings together over 300 fashion items, photographs, documents and interviews to give exhibition-goers a sense of what being on-trend in WW2 really meant. From service uniforms to Christian Dior’s ‘new look’, our wartime women made coats out of blankets, bracelets from aeroplane parts and even underwear from silk RAF maps (only for the rich, of course). The 2-inch limit on heel height doesn’t sound so bad, either…
Fashion on the Ration: 1940s Street Style runs until August 31st 2015, click here for more info
4. Beauty by Design | Fashioning the Renaissance at Scottish National Portrait Gallery
Renaissance art has long been a key influence for Dolce and Gabbana’s band of Italian beauties. Think lace dresses, rose prints and gold crowns. Now, a whole new set of designers have created bespoke items based on renaissance art’s love of luxury for Beauty by Design at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. The sheer lace shirts, chiffon neck ruffs and Perspex headpieces are perfect should Lady Gaga ever look to the original Queen Liz for inspiration.
Beauty by Design | Fashioning the Renaissance runs until May 3rd 2015, click here for more info
5. Yves Saint Laurent Style is Eternal at The Bowes Museum, County Durham
County Durham scored one of the fashion scoops of the year with this exhibition, holding the very first major retrospective of Yves Saint Laurent, featuring outfits that have never before left Laurent’s hometown of Paris. Stop by to see YSL’s sexy jumpsuits, trench coats and the one and only Le Smoking dinner suit, which transformed evening dressing from pretty to edgy. Yves Saint Laurent’s ambition was to dress all women, not just couture clientele, making this exhibition as much window shopping as it is fashion history. Always remember; Fashion fades, but style is eternal.
Yves Saint Laurent Style is Eternal runs from July 11th 2015 – October 25th 201, click here for more info
6. Shoes: Pleasure and Pain at Victoria and Albert Museum, London
You know the saying; you have to suffer for fashion, and nowhere do we punish ourselves more than with our shoes – they’re called killer heels for a reason. This summer, the V&A will showcase Shoes: Pleasure and Pain – an exhibition that examines our love of extreme footwear, as well as styles through the ages and from around the world. 200 pairs will be displayed, including real gold-leaf sandals – very on trend. The show will also include shoes worn by Marilyn Monroe, Sarah Jessica Parker and Queen Victoria, and designs by the likes of Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik.
Shoes: Pleasure and Pain runs from June 13th 2015 – January 31st 2016, click here for more info
By Isabella Silvers