Fall 2017: 15 Fashion Exhibitions (and Two New Museums)














Catch them before they close:



Until December 31, 2017

Hubert de Givenchy



Until January 7, 2018

Dior and Granville

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Until January 7, 2018

Christian Dior, Designer of Dreams



Until February 18, 2018

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion


Until March 14, 2018

Guo Pei; Couture Beyond


Fashionistas are in for a treat this Fall 2017.

The two major fashion “events” will be the opening of new museums dedicated to Yves Saint Laurent, one in Paris in the former atelier of the French couturier, and the other in Marrakech in a new building designed by the French architecture firm Studio KO and located next to the Jardin Majorelle, which the late designer saved from destruction in the 1980s.

But these will vie for attention with numerous other exhibitions opening around the world (see below). Here is a round up of what to expect:


Photograph by John Cowan, 1964

Photograph by John Cowan, 1964

Expedition: Fashion from the Extreme

September 15 to January 6, 2018

The Museum at FIT, New York

The parka can be traced back to indigenous peoples in the Arctic. Their style of outerwear was appropriated by explorers during the “heroic era” of polar navigation (1890 to 1922) and later redesigned for sports and military use before the parka eventually became a fashion statement and then an everyday item. Experimental, high-tech materials, such as neoprene and Mylar, initially developed for deep-sea and outer space exploration, have also made their way onto the world’s most exclusive runways somewhat faster.

Expedition: Fashion from the Extreme illustrates the ways in which certain items of clothing made for survival in the most inhospitable environments have become modern wardrobe mainstays.

Rochas Mermaid Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), 1950 by Irving Penn

Rochas Mermaid Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), 1950 by Irving Penn

Irvin Penn: Centennial

September 21, 2017 to January, 29 2018

Grand Palais, Paris

First shown in New York, the most comprehensive retrospective of one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century opens in Paris.

Penn’s iconic fashion photography often graced the pages of Vogue magazines, but he was also celebrated for his portraits and still life shots. The exhibition features more than two hundred photographs taken throughout his nearly 70-year career and is organized around a chronological and thematic tour. This is an opportunity to discover Penn’s early work with some of his still-lifes photographs taken for Vogue in the 1940s, his New York Street scenes and pictures of his well-documented trip to Cuzco in Peru. After WWII he moved away from photographing in the field to shoot in his studio with a simple theater curtain as backdrop (on display at the exhibition); and even when he was sent on exotic location by Vogue, Penn would set himself up in a tent that he designed to recreate that studio experience.

Penn photographed some of the artistic titans of the 20th century from Picasso, Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau to Igor Stravinsky, Marlene Dietrich and Alfred Hitchcock, and his fashion photographs of his wife and muse, Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, immediately recall the golden age of couture in the 1950s.

MoMA Presents “Items: Is Fashion Modern?” This Fall

Items: Is Fashion Modern?
October 1 to January 28, 2018
MoMA, New York

This will be only the second exhibition about clothing at MOMA and looks at 111 items that have had a significant impact on our history and society — the leather jacket, the white tee, the American jean, and the little black dress — and groups them into seven categories: the changing body and silhouette; the quest for new technologies; ideas of rebellion, emancipation, and modesty; messaging through clothing; athleticism and fashion; everyday uniforms; and power.

Included in the list will be the Schott NYC Perfecto; Vivienne Westwood’s 1994 kilts and the “God Save the Queen” tee Westwood made with Malcolm McLaren; Prada’s nylon Vela backpack; Jane Birkin’s Hermès Birkin bag; and Yves Saint Laurent Le Smoking and Safari suits.

Fortuny, A Spaniard in Venice

October 4, 2017 to January 7, 2018

Palais Galliera, Paris

This exhibition promises to be an invitation into the soft, shimmering world of the prolific designer who advocated the liberation of the female form with the use of fluid and innovative fabrics.

Born in Granada, Spain, Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo (1871‑1949) is best known for his ‘Delphos’ plissé silk dresses, first created in 1907. Entirely made from silk so finely pleated that they could be rolled up into a ball and not lose their shape, the dresses were inspired by ancient Greece and caused an outcry as they clung to the body so tightly. In many ways, they greatly influenced the Japanese designer Issey Miyake’s pleated garments, though unlike Fortuny Miyake first designed his garment before pleating the fabric.

The exhibition will present an encompassing view of Fortuny’s creative output that included interior and lighting design as well as innovations like the “Tempera Fortuny,” colored photographic paper.

Olivier Theyskens – She Walks in Beauty.jpg



Olivier Theyskens – She Walks in Beauty

October 12, 2017 – March 18, 2918

MoMu, Antwerp

Dedicated to the Belgian designer Olivier Theyskens, this exhibition will explore his creative evolution over 20 years, from the dark romantic side of his early designs to the new vision of couture he instilled at Rochas, his mastering of textiles and cut at Nina Ricci, his American adventure with Theyskens’ Theory and the re-launch of his own brand Olivier Theyskens.









October 25, 2017 — April 25, 2018

Fashion Museum, Rīga

There is no stopping the Dior celebratory train. A new exhibition celebrating the fashion house’s 70th anniversary will feature many pieces from the collection of fashion historian Alexandre Vassiliev, who is said to own one of the largest collections of couture in the world and is a big fan of Dior. The exhibition will include pieces from the 1940s created by Dior himself, along with designs for the fashion house by three of his successors: Yves Saint-Laurent, Marc Bohan and Gianfranco Ferré.

Louise Dahl-Wolfe,  Dior Ballgown , Paris, 1950

Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Dior Ballgown, Paris, 1950

Louise Dahl–Wolfe: A Style of Her Own

October 20 to January 21, 2018

Fashion and Textile Museum, London

Louise Dahl-Wolfe (1895‑1989) was one of the most influential fashion photographers of the 20th century. During the 22 years she spent working for Harper’s Bazaar (1936‑58) she pioneered the use of natural lighting in fashion photography as well as shooting on location and outdoors, and while her work appears fresh and spontaneous it was always carefully planned.

Considered a pioneer of modern fashion photography, the exhibition highlights how Dahl-Wolfe defined the image of the modern independent post-war woman and influenced a number of artists including Richard Avedon and Horst P. Horst.

As well as this retrospective the museum is also presenting an exhibition dedicated to Harper’s Bazaar showcasing the visions of its editors, photographers and stylists through photographs by Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Lillian Bassman, Cecil Beaton, Toni Frissell, Man Ray and Norman Parkinson, amongst others.