Jul 06

The Excitement of Fashion Exhibits

Fashion exhibits have grown greatly in popularity in recent years. I remember visiting the Natural History Museum in El Paso in 2012 to see their first ever exhibit on “50 Years of Fashion” and it was marvelous to see the dresses of bygone eras. Oh how I wish I could have worn some of them. Walking through the exhibit for the opening was like a dream. I kept saying to myself, “Wait a minute, there’s a whole gallery devoted to this.

Punk Chaos to Couture at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty show

That the interest in fashion is peaking in recent years is evidenced by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, when it held its Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty show in 2011, broke all records for a fashion exhibition in the museum’s history. More than 650,000 people attended. A little further away, Victoria’s Bendigo Art Gallery had 152,000 people attend its Grace Kelly: Style Icon exhibition last year, setting a national benchmark for a regional gallery in the process.

It was the legendary Diana Vreeland, former American Vogue editor and special consultant to the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute from 1973 to 1987, who said successful fashion exhibitions needed to be experienced, not just seen.

It seems the public fascination with what we wear – and wore – shows no sign of abating. And that comes with its own issues and delights for those in the gallery world.

We want you to exeprience the same excitement and the infographic below is just a taste of what awaits you. We have listed current exhibits (and museums) by country and state. We encourage you to visit any in your local area and during your travels.

The exhibits change frequently, so you’ll need to revisit this page often. Click on the links for a fuller description of each exhibit and bare with us as we will be adding more exhibits as fast as we can find them. If you know of one not listed, please let us know,


Jul 07

Fashion Museums Around the World

From a CNN special.

Four times a year the fashion industry holds major runway shows, in New York, London, Paris, and Milan, where we see previews of what’s newest and next in ready-to-wear clothes. Most of us will never see one of these shows, but there is a next best option. A handful of fashion museums — from the Big Apple to Amsterdam to Kobe, Japan — offer year-round peeks into the history of high style.

Thanks to their rotating exhibitions and permanent collections, they help visitors connect the cultural dots between the history of fashion and what’s happening now. You don’t have to be a designer-obsessed fashionista to check them out.

First Lady Gowns at the Smithsonian

First Lady Gowns at the Smithsonian

“Everybody from a 2-year-old child to a grandmother has a sense of the role of fashion in their lives,” says Dr. Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, whose New York exhibitions include “Gothic: Dark Glamour;” “Love & War: The Weaponized Woman” and “The Corset: Fashioning the Body.” “People get information about fashion from so many sources. The museum is just one more medium, but it’s outside the commercial realm. We’re not trying to sell them anything—just to inspire them.”

Fashion museums, whether in the United States, South America, Europe or Asia, tend to specialize in certain aspects of style. In The Netherlands, Amsterdam’s Tassen Museum Hendrikje is all about bags and purses; thanks to its namesake’s footwear roots, Museo Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence, Italy, offers a well-heeled walk through Hollywood. Others, like The Museum at FIT (which considers itself a “think tank,” Steele says) not only stage chronological and historical exhibits and yearly symposiums, but also introduce visitors to student-created fashion collections.

“All of the time, we try to reach out to make it accessible to the general public, as well as for students, industry professionals and fashion connoisseurs,” says Steele, a professor and author who The New York Times has called a “High-Heeled Historian.” “We go the extra mile about not just showing pretty dresses, but to think about what they mean in the cultural sense. I’m a great believer that fashion is not something superficial, but a part of our culture and history.”

Here’s a glimpse of the sartorial style you’ll find at 10 of the world’s top fashion museums. Click through examples of the museums’ offerings in the gallery above.

Museo Salvatore Ferragamo  Florence, Italy

Housed just downstairs from the company’s flagship boutique on Florence’s ultra-chic Via dei Tornabuoni, the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo pays tribute to this legendary Italian fashion company’s products — and the global celebrities who helped make them famous. Naples-born Salvatore Ferragamo became “shoemaker to the stars” in the 1920s after opening a shop in Hollywood. With rotating exhibitions like “Marilyn” and an impressively displayed permanent collection of Ferragamo’s iconic footwear, this museum is a must-see for the casual and footwear-obsessed fashion follower.

Museo de la Moda Santiago, Chile

Founded in 1999 by Jorge Yarur Bascuñán, a descendant of wealthy Chilean-Palestinian textile merchants, the privately funded Museo de la Moda boasts an impressive 10,000-piece collection. With pieces acquired through auctions and donations, the Museo, the only fashion museum in South America, is in the Yarur Bascuñán historic family home. Its collection, which dates back to 5 B.C., includes the military jacket John Lennon wore during a LIFE Magazine photo shoot in 1966 and the strapless black evening gown then-Lady Diana wore in 1981 during her first public appearance after her engagement to Britain’s Prince Charles.

The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art  New York

The Costume Institute at the world-famous Met houses more than 35,000 costumes and accessories, a collection spanning five continents and dating back 500 years. Actress Sarah Jessica Parker narrates the Institute’s audio guide, “Costume: The Art of Dress,” which highlights the cultural significance of fashion throughout the ages. The museum stages at least one special exhibition each year, with recent ones including 2004’s “Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century;” 2006’s “AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion” and 2010’s “American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity.”

The Museum at FIT  New York

Housed at Manhattan’s famed Fashion Institute of Technology, The Museum at FIT is known for its innovative and award-winning special exhibitions. In July, it earned accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums, the highest national recognition possible for a museum. Founded in the late 1960s, it is visited by 100,000 people each year. With a permanent collection of 50,000 garments and accessories from the 18th century to the present, the Museum at FIT places an emphasis on “aesthetically and historically significant ‘directional’ clothing, with an eye toward contemporary avant-garde fashion.

Kent State University Museum  Kent, Ohio

Housed on a university campus in northeast Ohio, the Kent State Museum contains important collections of fashion and decorative arts, with eight galleries featuring rotating exhibitions of work by artists and designers. Affiliated with Kent State’s Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising, the museum gives students an up-close-and-personal look at historic and contemporary fashion and costumes from global cultures. Accredited by the American Association of Museums, Kent State’s collections span from the 17th to the 21st centuries.

Kobe Fashion Museum  Kobe, Japan

“The first museum in Japan to specialize in fashion,” the Kobe Fashion Museum houses materials open to students, industry professionals and those working in the business of fashion. The museum’s fifth floor offers a space for young people to gather for events and entertainment, designed to promote “a new culture of fashion in Kobe.” The collection here not only includes garments from Asia, but also from around the world.

Les Arts Décoratifs  Paris

Located in the west wing of the world-famous Louvre museum, Les Arts Décoratifs houses three museums in one: Arts Décoratifs, Publicité and Mode et Textile — and it’s this one that’s home to temporary but dramatic fashion exhibitions. The currently staged “Louis Vuitton Marc Jacobs” traces the careers of the French-born creator of 19th-century trunks and accessories and the American designer who spent 15 years as artistic director at the house Vuitton built. With more than 81,000 works, the two-floor Mode et Textile space owns collections of design legends including Paul Poiret, Christian Dior and Elsa Schiaparelli.

Victoria and Albert Museum  London, England

The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. It was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.. The V&A covers 12.5 acres and 145 galleries. Its collection spans 5,000 years of art, from ancient times to the present day, from the cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa.  Click on the name link to see the most current fashion exhibitions

Manchester Galleries, Gallery of Costume  Manchester, United Kingdom

The Gallery of Costume at Platt Hall reopened to the public in 2010 following a major £1million renovation project. The Gallery of Costume houses one of the most important costume collections in Britain, second only to the V&A in London. It contains over 20,000 fashion items from the 17th century to the present day. The gallery continues to collect pieces to enhance the collection.

You can see some of the most recent acquisitions in the refreshed displays. Look out for one of the Gallery’s latest purchases, a rare 1958 Trapeze Line’ outfit.

Fashion Museum  Bath, United Kingdom

The English town of Bath seems an unlikely place for a museum dedicated to high style, but it has been home to the Fashion Museum (formerly the Museum of Costume) since 1963. About 100,000 visitors come each year to check out its annually rotating exhibitions, guided tours and interactive displays. A bonus: family-friendly “dressing up activities,” in which kids can try on replica archery costumes and Victorian garb over their own clothes.

Tassen Museum Hendrikje  Amsterdam, The Netherlands

With 4,000 bags, purses, trunks, pouches, cases and accessories, this Dutch museum claims to have the “world’s largest bag collection.” It certainly has got some of the world’s most interesting ones. Located in a traditional central Amsterdam canal house, the Tassen Museum boasts Western-style handbags dating back 500 years. Beyond hosting exhibitions of contemporary bag designers from the Netherlands and abroad, the Tassen offers bag-designing workshops, kids’ bag-decorating birthday parties, and afternoon tea in one of its elegantly decorated 17th and 18th century period rooms.

Mode Museum Province of Antwerp (MoMu)   Antwerp, Belgium

The second-largest Belgian city is known for its sense of style and hipster cool, so it makes sense that a museum celebrating fashion is housed here. A totally renovated 19th century space is the backdrop for Mode Museum’s thematic exhibitions, which showcase specific designers or fashion-related topics. Rather than parking items in glass cases, curators tailor the museum’s interior spaces to the feel of each exhibition, adding a larger cultural context to the fashion that’s on display.


Jul 06

Current Fashion Exhibits

This page is a list of current fashion exhibits worldwide listed by Country and State. Please check back often for changes. Click on the title of each exhibit for additional information.

Head On Photo Festival 2017. Darlinghurst, AU (Sydney)   Opening May 18th at 6pm with an artist’s talk on May 20th at 2pm

Transgender exhibition, fashion exhibits

A special exhibit celebrating the work of transgender women is Venus Virgin Tomarz. It’s a progressive body of work. It is told in hyper-colourful composite photographs that recall the sci-fi kitsch of yesteryear. “Venus’s idea of taking 1960s sci-fi as the metaphor of her story of transgender, I just thought that was brilliant,” says Earp.

Robert Earp Press Release

Walk of Art: Visionary Shoes, a collection of over 60 extravagant shoe designs are featured in a special exhibit in Manhattan.

NOA RUBIN, ‘A Tribute to Alexander McQueen’, fashion exhibits

NOA RUBIN, ‘A Tribute to Alexander McQueen’. (photo credit:NOY BIRI)

For some women they are just accessories, for others true objects of worship. The extravagant shoe designs of 40 students and graduates of the Jerusalem Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design were featured this week in a special exhibit in at the Parasol Projects Gallery in the Bowery neighborhood of lower Manhattan. The Exhibit will run until February 13. More details are here

Counter-Couture: Handmade Fashion in an American Counterculture

counter couture museum arts design, fashion exhibits

Fred and Candace Kling, Dresses, c. 1974, cotton, Collection of Bruce and Carol Feldman, Photo Credit: Rex Rystedt, courtesy of the Bellevue Arts Museum

Travel back to the 1960s and 1970s, when consumerism became the common enemy and the ideals of self-sufficiency and self-expression were embraced by the counterculture youth. These were the decades of the civil rights movement, hippies, flower children, spiritual drug use, and the fight for gender equality—and the era’s fashion showed it. Counter-Couture focuses in on the handmade garments, jewelry, and accessories of American makers, many of which were clearly influenced by a pursuit for personal style. While fashion may often seem frivolous, Counter-Couture will remind you of how change can be fought for through clothing. The exhibition will feature garments that were hand-sewn, embroidered, quilted, patched, and tie-dyed in an effort to create a folk sensibility and stand against mainstream consumerism.

Run Dates: March 2, 2017–August, 20, 2017





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