Alice Curiouser and Curiouser, May 2021, Installation Image

What’s On at The V&A?

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The leading arts and design museum has a lot of tricks up its sleeve

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While the first half of 2021 got off to a rocky start, the V&A promise a whole host of exciting events to keep you busy for the rest of the year. The majority of the V&A’s galleries are now open to the public – note: free timed entry tickets must be booked – with exhibitions Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser and Bags: Inside Out  both receiving rave reviews from visitors. Here’s what to book and look forward to over the coming months.

The Must-See Fashion Exhibitions of 2020/21

What’s On At The V&A?

Following months of temporary closure, the V&A is back with an exciting array of exhibitions and upcoming retrospectives, including an exploration of all things Alice in Wonderland, the culmination of this year’s Jameel Prize, and the evolution of fashion’s most beloved accessory, the bag. Clear your calendars, because you won’t want to miss these must-see showcases…

Renaissance Watercolours

Renaissance Watercolours

Leonardo da Vinci, A bird’s-eye view of western Tuscany, c.1503-4. Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020

Uncover a collection of 200 renaissance watercolour works of art and their depiction of the natural world in the first exhibition dedicated to the superlative art form. Open now until 8 August 2021.

Epic Iran

Epic Iran V&A

Qaran Unhorses Barman, a folio from the Shahnameh of Shah Tahmasp, Tabriz, about 1523-35. The Sarikhani Collection, I.MS.4025 © The Sarikhani Collection

Spanning 300 notable pieces and 5,000 years of history, this captivating exhibition will transport culture vultures to the Middle East in an in-depth exploration of Iranian art, design and culture. Open now until 12 September 2021.

Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser

Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser

Alice at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Illustration for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by John Tenniel, 1865 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Set to be the V&A’s most highly anticipated and must-see exhibition of 2021, 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. Open now until 31 December 2021.

Bags: Inside Out

Bags: Inside Out

Model with Lait de Coco Evening Bag, Karl Lagerfeld, 2014 © Jason Lloyd Evans

Practical, sometimes necessary and often wholly understated: Bags: Inside Out at the V&A celebrates the history, status and power of the humble handbag. From luxury designs – think Mulberry and Karl Lagerfeld – to Winston Churchill’s despatch box, plus those worn by Margaret Thatcher and Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City, delve into the depths of fashion’s most functional accessory. Open now until 16 January 2022.

Our Guide to Bags: Inside Out

Jameel Prize: Poetry To Politics

Ajlan Gharem, Paradise Has Many Gates–Daytime, 2015.

Ajlan Gharem, Paradise Has Many Gates–Daytime, 2015 © Ajlan Gharem

Celebrating contemporary design inspired by Islamic tradition, this year’s instalment of the Jameel Prize is one you won’t want to miss. The eight finalists – Golnar Adili, Hadeyeh Badri, Kallol Datta, Farah Fayyad, Ajlan Gharem, Sofia Karim, Jana Traboulsi, and Bushra Waqas Khan – will come together to address global events, lived realities, and the legacies of language, architecture, and craft. Catch the exhibition on its opening day, 18 September, when the winner will be announced. 18 September 2021 – 28 November 2021. 

Fabergé in London: Romance to Revolution

Caesar, by Fabergé. Chalcedony, gold, enamel, rubies c. 1908 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021

Caesar, Fabergé. Chalcedony, gold, enamel, rubies c. 1908.Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021

The first major exhibition dedicated to the international prominence of master goldsmith, Carl Fabergé, Fabergé in London: Romance to Revolution dives in to the history of the beloved jewellery firm. While honouring the firm’s beginnings in Russia, the exhibition also promises to explore the Anglo-Russian nature of Fabergé’s enterprise, with emphasis on the opening of its London branch in 1903. 20 November 2021 – 8 May 2022. 

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Featured image: Alice Curiouser and Curiouser, May 2021, Installation Image © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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