Seven stylish exhibitions in Europe this summer to add to your calendar

We bring you the must-visit shows to have on your radar in 2018

An employee poses as she walks past dresses and tunics forming part of 'Frida Kahlo:Making Herself Up',  an exhibition of the Mexican artist's possessions which goes on display outside of Mexico for the first time, at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Britain, June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville
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A round up of exhibitions and fashion shows to visit over the up-coming months.

Powerful patterns

An essential stop while in London is the Fashion and Textile Museum, which although tricky to get to (the nearest tube station is a fair walk away), is worth the effort. This summer it is showing the work of Orla Kiely in a show called Orla Kiely: A Life in Pattern. Arguably one of Ireland’s top exports, Kiely has a prolific output, and this show is a look at her work across chinaware, home decor and even cars. With more than 150 patterns and products, the exhibition explores some of the collaborations Kiely undertook with architects, photographers and filmmakers.

Orla Kiely: A Life in Pattern runs until September 23;

Spiritual designs

Anyone who watched the Met Ball this year will have had a taste of this show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Titled Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, this is a visual exploration of the complex relationship between religious imagery and fashion. With works by names such as Elsa Schiaparelli, Christian Lacroix, Yves Saint Laurent and John Galliano, it also features papal robes and mitres loaned by the Vatican.

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination runs until October 8;

Portrait of a lady

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is hosting the much-publicised Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, an exhibition dedicated to the visual language of the famed Mexican artist. Featuring her elaborate clothes, make-up and even the medical corsets that dominated her life, it offers a unique insight in to the persona behind the paintings, and a glimpse into the struggles she endured. Crippled by childhood polio and then nearly killed in a bus crash, Kahlo’s life was both shaped by and intensely defiant of the limitations of her body. Famous for her brutally honest self-portraits, into which she poured her pain and frustrations, this powerful show – including many pieces seen for the first time outside Mexico, as well as the red boot she fashioned for her prosthetic leg – is a lesson in overcoming tragedy. 

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up runs until November 4;


Visitors to Berlin this summer should take the time to see Between Art & Fashion: Photographs from the Collection of Carla Sozzani at the Helmut Newton Foundation.

With a career spanning 50 years as editor-in-chief of both Italian Vogue and Elle, Sozzani has worked with some of the world's best fashion photographers. She has amassed a personal collection of almost 1,000 photographs that hover between art and fashion, and this exhibition shows 200 images from her archive, including works by Horst P Horst, Irving Penn, Sarah Moon, David Bailey, Bruce Weber and Helmut Newton.
Between Art & Fashion: Photographs from the Collection of Carla Sozzani runs until November 18; 

Legacy of lace

Following the success of recent exhibitions on Hubert de Givenchy, Cristóbal Balenciaga and Anne Valérie Hash, the Museum of Fashion and Lace in Calais has opened another, titled Haute Dentelle: Designer Lace. Housed in a former 19th- century lace factory, the show is a look at the role played by lace in haute couture. Notoriously time-consuming to work with, lace is made either by hand (as needle or bobbin lace) or by machine (on Leavers Looms, named for inventor John Leavers), and has been prized for centuries. With shops now swamped with cheap, mass-produced nylon lace, lace made in the traditional way still plays an important role in the creation of high fashion, and even some ready-to-wear. On display are exceptional pieces that have lace as an instrumental ingredient, from houses such as Chanel, Christian Dior and Iris Van Herpen, which show this delicate material in all its exquisite glory. Also on show at the same museum is Women’s Fashion at the First Empire Court, which explores French court dress during the time of Napoleon I, and Apparitions – Photography by Christine Mathieu, a series of hauntingly beautiful images of Normandy lace bonnets from the late 19th century. Well worth the trip.

Haute Dentelle: Designer Lace runs until January 6, 2019;

Fashioning the environment

Another show at the Victoria and Albert Museum is Fashioned from Nature, an exhibition that examines the link between fashion and the natural world from 1600 to the present day. Featuring more than 300 pieces by designers such as Stella McCartney, John Galliano, Gucci, Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Dior, it is a chronological overview of how nature has been used as a base material and a source of inspiration over the ages. From whalebone corsets and embroidered waistcoats from the 18th century, to motifs from modern designers such as Dries Van Noten, it also takes an unflinching look at the negative impact that the fashion industry has on the natural environment, as well as highlighting those working to alter harmful industry practices. Alongside pieces by Fashion Revolution and Vivienne Westwood, there is also a dress made from Vegea – a faux leather produced from grape waste – as well as the pioneering synthetic spider silk dress created by Bolt Threads in collaboration with McCartney.

Fashioned from Nature runs until January 27, 2019;

Step into Tinseltown

In Florence, the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo is still showing Italy in Hollywood, which catalogues the years that the shoe designer spent in America as the darling of the movie industry, before returning to his home city of Florence. 

Italy in Hollywood runs until March 10, 2019;


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