Missed out on scoring tickets to the V&A’s Coco Chanel exhibition? Don’t fret. While the museum’s blockbuster show sold out its entire run just four days after opening, it’s not the only fashion spectacular worth checking out in London this fall. From red-carpet glamor to Black British trailblazers to never-before-seen vintage Gucci, the city currently boasts a dazzling array of exhibitions catering to design lovers. Here are five of the best to visit right now. Immerse yourself in 100 years of Gucci at the Gucci Cosmos exhibition at 180 Studios, where you can explore the story of the iconic Italian fashion house through its ties to the equestrian world, its most iconic handbags, and its striking archival looks. With never-before-seen items from the brand’s archive and a set redesign by British artist Es Devlin, this exhibition is a must-see for fashion enthusiasts.
Crown to Couture: British and Hollywood royalty
Location and Dates
The Crown to Couture exhibition is currently being held at Kensington Palace in London and will be open until October 29. This gives fashion enthusiasts just a few more weeks to explore this stunning display of fashion history.
At the Crown to Couture exhibition, visitors are treated to a unique juxtaposition of fashion from the royal Georgian court and modern-day red carpet looks. More than 200 items are on display, showcasing the evolution of couture and its influence on today’s fashion.
The exhibition features iconic pieces such as Kim Kardashian’s Skims shapewear alongside an 18th-century corset. Elaborate Georgian ensembles are paired with modern looks, like Billy Porter’s “Sun God” outfit created by The Blonds for the 2019 Met Gala. Visitors can also marvel at Katy Perry’s sparkling Moschino chandelier dress and Beyoncé’s gold Peter Dundas gown from the 2017 Grammys.
The exhibition concludes with a selection of contemporary looks inspired by historic designs from Britain and France. Designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Simone Rocha, and Erdem have created eye-catching creations that pay homage to the past while looking towards the future.
Overall, the Crown to Couture exhibition is a must-see for anyone interested in the intersection of British and Hollywood fashion.
The Missing Thread: Untold stories of Black British fashion
Location and Dates
The Missing Thread exhibition can be found at Somerset House in London and will be open until January 7. Visitors have plenty of time to delve into the untold stories of Black British fashion.
The Missing Thread celebrates 50 years of Black creativity in Britain, focusing on how the community has shaped mainstream fashion. The exhibition is divided into four sections: Home, Tailoring, Performance, and Nightlife. Each section explores the evolution of Black British clothing, music, photography, and art against a backdrop of political turmoil and cultural shifts.
Highlights of the exhibition include the England football kit created by Savile Row tailor Charlie Allen in 2009, Givenchy menswear by Ozwald Boateng (the first Black designer to head a French fashion house), and the red Bruce Oldfield evening dress worn by Princess Diana during a state visit to Saudi Arabia in 1986.
The exhibition also pays tribute to the late Joe Casely-Hayford, a pioneering designer and tailor who had a 40-year career. Through its exploration of Black British fashion, The Missing Thread sheds light on a rich history that has often been overlooked.
Rebel: Celebrating 30 years of London Fashion
Location and Dates
The Rebel exhibition can be found at the Design Museum in West London and will be open until February 11. Fashion enthusiasts have several months to explore this celebration of rebellious young talent.
Rebel: Celebrating 30 years of London Fashion marks three decades of the British Fashion Council’s NewGen program, which has nurtured and supported over 300 emerging designers. The exhibition showcases nearly 100 looks from these designers, offering a glimpse into their creative visions and contributions to the fashion industry.
Visitors can marvel at iconic pieces such as Marjan Pejoski’s notorious “swan” dress, worn by Björk to the 2001 Oscars, and the floral SS Daley trousers famously worn by Harry Styles in his “Golden” music video. The exhibition also features Sam Smith’s eye-popping inflatable latex suit from the 2023 BRIT Awards, created by HARRI.
Rebel takes guests on a journey through the early works of designers like Alexander McQueen, before immersing them in a thrilling catwalk display showcasing the innovative designs of Christopher Kane, Wales Bonner, and JW Anderson, among others. This exhibition is a testament to the boldness and creativity that has come to define London fashion.
Fashion City: Exploring Jewish influence on London’s fashion
Location and Dates
Fashion City can be visited at the Museum of London Docklands and will be open until April 14. This gives visitors ample time to explore the rich history of Jewish influence on London’s fashion scene.
Fashion City delves into the contributions of Jewish designers, makers, and retailers in shaping London’s reputation as a fashion capital. The exhibition begins with a section dedicated to the East End, where many Jewish migrants settled in the late 19th and mid-20th centuries. This area became a manufacturing hub for various fashion items, from handbags to umbrellas.
The exhibition then explores Jewish tailoring and the couture salons of the West End. Visitors can see the red David Sassoon coat worn by Princess Diana on the day she announced her pregnancy with Prince William, as well as stunning hats by milliner Otto Lucas, which graced the cover of British Vogue. A recreation of a Swinging Sixties Carnaby Street boutique showcases garments by Mr Fish, whose revolutionary gender-fluid menswear was donned by David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, and Mick Jagger.
Fashion City celebrates the enduring influence of Jewish Londoners on the city’s fashion landscape and provides a fascinating insight into the history of British fashion.
Gucci Cosmos: Immersing in 100 years of Gucci
Location and Dates
Gucci Cosmos is currently being held at 180 Studios in London and will be open until December 31. Visitors should book ahead to secure their spot for this immersive journey through 100 years of Gucci.
Gucci Cosmos takes visitors on a captivating exploration of the Italian fashion house’s storied history. The exhibition includes never-before-seen items from Gucci’s archive and a set redesign by British artist Es Devlin, paying homage to the city where Guccio Gucci established his luggage atelier in 1921.
Throughout the exhibition, visitors will encounter pieces representing different eras of Gucci, from its early days to its most recent designs. Signature styles from the 1960s and 2020s sit alongside one of Guccio Gucci’s earliest suitcases, providing a glimpse into the brand’s evolution over the past century.
The immersive installation invites visitors to experience Gucci’s connection to the equestrian world, its iconic handbags, and its unisex designs. Striking archival looks from former creative directors Tom Ford, Frida Giannini, and Alessandro Michele are also on display. Gucci Cosmos is a must-visit for fashion lovers and aficionados of this iconic brand.
In conclusion, London is currently home to a vibrant array of fashion exhibitions, each offering unique insights into the world of fashion. Whether you’re interested in the influence of British and Hollywood royalty, untold stories of Black British fashion, rebellious young talent, Jewish influence on London’s fashion, or 100 years of Gucci, there is something for everyone to enjoy. So grab your tickets and prepare to be inspired and captivated by the dazzling world of fashion in one of the world’s most fashionable cities.