The Must-See Fashion Exhibitions of 2021 | What's On

The Must-See Fashion Exhibitions of 2021

Culture /

From Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser to Chintz: Cotton in Bloom

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Fashion exhibitions were hit hard in 2020. The long-awaited Bags at The V&A, a retrospective dedicated to fashion’s best-loved accessory, experienced its fair share of closures, whilst the Fashion Museum Bath’s Shoephoria! was forced to postpone its showcase of over 3,000 pairs of shoes. The good news? It’s now 2021 and museums are raring to open their doors with an exciting array of exhibitions. These are the ones not to miss.

Please note that exhibition dates are subject to change.

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The Must-See Fashion Exhibitions of 2021


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  • Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser

    Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser

    Enter into the fantastical world of Alice in Wonderland and explore the iconic story’s influential 158-year-old history; its origins, evolution and impact on film, fashion, photography, and more. Expect an array of fascinating and whimsical exhibition highlights, from stage costumes and Iris van Herpen designs to Annie Leibovitz and Tim Walker photography. Visitors will also catch sight of Lewis Carroll’s original manuscript and fantastic illustrations from John Tenniel, Ralph Steadman and Disney. A wholly eccentric exhibition, the V&A will be the first museum ever to delve headfirst into the evolution of Alice and her long-established cultural influence. 27 March 2021 – 31 December 2021.

    Image: Viktor&Rolf Haute Couture AutumnWinter 2016 – Vagabonds. Peter Stigter. 

  • Chintz: Cotton in Bloom

    Chintz: Cotton in Bloom

    The Fashion and Textile Museum is set to host a compelling exhibition dedicated to chintz, the once intricate art of printing pattern on cotton fabric. The unique showcase will explore 150 chintz pieces from different centuries across the globe – think bold colours, vintage florals, exquisite period dresses and more. 12 March 2021 – 15 August 2021.

    Image: Detail of palempore. Cotton, painted and dyed using the chintz technique. India, 1700-1725. Fries Museum Leeuwarden. Photo Studio Noorderblik.

  • Bags: Inside Out at the V&A

    Bags: Inside Out

    Do you often get teased about your ridiculously large bag collection? Well, prepare to rub this in everybody’s faces: bags are important, says the V&A, who has staged an entire exhibition about the accessory. From luggage to boxes, rucksacks to handbags, the museum will explore the history of the bag with a showcase of 300 bag-related items and artefacts dating from the 16th century onwards. On now until 12 September 2021.


    Christian Dior: Designer Of Dreams

    If you didn’t get a chance to visit the spectacular Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition at the V&A back in 2019, you can now experience the enchanting showcase from home. Dior has released an hour-long film available to watch for free via YouTube detailing the curation of the retrospective initially hosted at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, from the elaborate dress tailoring to the comprehensive exhibition construction and glamorous opening night. Watch now via the Christian Dior YouTube channel.

    Image: © Adrien-Dirand

  • Shoephoria!


    As 2020 marks the Year of the Shoe at the Fashion Museum Bath, it seems only fitting that the gallery hosts an exhibition dedicated to all things footwear. Launching next spring, Shoephoria! will showcase a 100-piece collection of pairs of shoes and boots, exploring the fascinating history of shoemaking. From 17th Century red velvet mules to a pair of Russian boots worn by artist and aristocrat Lady Ottoline Morrell, the unique exhibition will take spectators on a journey through time, from footwear designed for royalty to modern-day Converse and Nikes. Opening 29 March 2021.

  • Fashion & Textile Museum

    Beautiful People: The Boutique in 1960s Counterculture

    It was the mid 60s, and a small number of Chelsea boutiques reigned supreme, sparking a fashion revolution which, along with popular music, fuelled the cesspool of creativity and experimentation that came to define the decade. See fantastical pieces worn by the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix in this exhibition, which features rare pieces from the iconic stores and designers like Ossie Clark, Biba and Thea Porter. 3 September 2021 – January 2022.

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