Top 20 Fashion Exhibitions in 2016


While 2015 will be remembered for the stunning China Through the Looking Glass exhibition at the Met in New York and the line-around-the-block Savage Beauty exhibition of Alexander McQueen’s creations at the V&A in London, 2016 is already promising to be another year of fabulous fashion exhibitions. Futuristic fashion and new technologies will be ‘a l’honneur,’ with a major retrospective of Issey Miyake in Tokyo, and exhibitions of Manus x machina at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and #techstyle at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Meanwhile, a major exhibition on 300 years of fashion at les Art Décoratifs in Paris promises to be a must-see, as will retrospectives on Oscar de la Renta and Isaac Mizrahi.

Une Maison, des Collections, Musée Christian Dior — Granville, France

Through March 6, 2016.

This exhibition looks at the sources of inspiration behind Christian Dior’s creations, from the elegant dresses of his mother, Madeleine, that left an impression on the young Dior to carnival costumes. On display are a selection of examples made between 1947 and 1957, which would later inspire Dior’s successors at his maison, from Yves Saint Laurent to Raf Simons.


Fairy Tale Fashion,  the Museum at FIT, New York

January 15 through April 16, 2016

A look at how fairy tales have inspired fashion designers with creations by from the likes of Dolce & Gabbana, Thierry Mugler, Comme des Garçons, Alexander McQueen, Prada, and Rodarte, amongst others.

Bellissima: Italy and High Fashion 1945 to 1968, NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, USA

February 7 through June 5

This exhibition puts the spotlight on Italian fashion and designers like Emilio Schuberth, Sorelle Fontana, Germana Marucelli, Mila Schön, Valentino, Simonetta, Roberto Capucci, Fernanda Gattinoni, Fendi, Renato Balestra, Biki, Irene Galitzine, Emilio Pucci, and Fausto Sarli.


Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times, Driehaus Museum, Chicago

February 9 through May 8, 2016

The exhibition of period costumes from the popular British television series Downton Abbey continues its North American tour finding a new home in the beautifully restored mansion.



Vogue 100: A Century of Style, National Portrait Gallery, London

February 11 through May 22, 2016,

A major exhibition tracing the breadth and depth of work commissioned by the magazine, providing a unique perspective on cultural changes as they were reflected in its pages. Visitors will be able to view Peter Lindbergh’s famed 1990s cover shots of supermodels, as well as prints from the 1993 Corinne Day editorial featuring an adolescent Kate Moss in her knickers that helped usher in the “grunge” era.



Coded_Couture, Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York

February 12 through April 30, 2016,

A look at how technological advances push fashion designers to explore new directions with materials and fabrication processes.

#techstyle, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

March 5 through July 10, 2016

The exhibition draws on the MFA’s collection of contemporary fashion featuring key pieces from innovators such as Alexander McQueen and Iris van Herpen.



Oscar de la Renta: the Retrospective, at Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

March 12 through May 30, 2016

Curated by André Leon Talley, this is a major retrospective of the creations of the late American designer with more than 130 pieces produced over five decades.






The Work of Issey Miyake, the National Art Center, Tokyo

March 16 through June 13, 2016

A major retrospective of the work of the innovative designer who has pushed innovative use of fabrics and techniques. Highlights will include a large section devoted to his Pleats Please creations.




Undressed: A brief history of underwear, V&A, London

April 16 through March 12, 2017

From the corsets and camisoles, girdles and garters to the latest barely-there nightie, this exhibition will offer more than 200 examples of women’s and men’s underwear investigating how their designs have combined the practical and personal with the sensory and fashionable.


Fashion Forward. Three Centuries of Fashion (1715-2015), les Arts Décoratifs, Paris

April 7 through August 14, 2016

The French museum celebrates its 30th anniversary with an exhibition bringing together 300 pieces that retrace the chronological story of fashion through its collection of 150,000 pieces of textiles, accessories, drawings, and photographers, with works by Elsa Schiaparelli, Madeleine Vionnet, and Cristobal Balenciaga. Curated by the British choreographer Christopher Wheeldon with a scenography by Jérôme Kaplan.

Anne Valérie Hash, Decrayonner, Cité internationale de la dentelle et de la mode de Calais, France

April 1 through November 15, 2016

A look at this lesser-known French grand couturier with over 100 creations.





Manus x machina, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

May 5 through August 14, 2016

This exhibition will span more than 200 years of sartorial history and explores the impact of new technology on fashion examining how designers reconciled handmade and machine made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear. Also featured will be the latest in new technologies used including 3D printing, laser cutting, thermo shaping, computer modeling, ultrasonic welding, and laminating.


Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History, Jewish Museum, New York

May 5 through August 14, 2016

The first retrospective of the designer’s  work with a look back at his 30 years in fashion.


Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair, Bellevue Arts Museum

May 20 through August 14, 2016

The Ebony Fashion Fair was an annual charity event founded in 1958 featuring African-American models presenting fashions from top European designers such as Yves St Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Givenchy, and Valentino, The exhibition will showcases nearly garments and accessories, along with archival photographs and video.

Antonio Lopez

Antonio Lopez

Antonio Lopez: Future, Funk, Fashion On View, el Museo del Barrio, New York

May 25 through  September 17, 2016

The famed fashion illustrator dominated editorials in the 1970s and '80s and this exhibition will feature his drawings, instamatic photographs, and portraits of various fashion world luminaries created in his exploration of race, gender, and the body through fashion.

Judy Blame at the ICA, London

June 29 through September 11, 2016,

A retrospective of the work by the British accessory designer and stylist retracing his make-do-and-mend aesthetic from the Punk movement and subsequent ‘80s club scene to his  latest creations for magazine editorials and brands like Louis Vuitton.

Counterculture Now, Somerset House, London

July 4 through August 29, 2016

This exhibition will explore how counter culture manifests itself today, charting counter cultural movements through art, clothes, and photography since the start of the new millennium.


Proust's Duchess, the Museum at FIT, New York

September 2016 – January 3, 2017

This exhibition, recently seen in Paris, focuses on the wardrobe of Élisabeth, Comtesse de Greffulhe, the inspiration for Marcel Proust’s character the Duchesse de Guermantes in his novel, In Search of Lost Time.


The Vulgar, the Barbican

October 13, 2016 through February, 5 2017

The exhibition explores notions of vulgarity in the fashions from its early origins to the present day. Renaissance objects will sit alongside pieces of 21st-century couture.

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