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The Top Fashion Exhibits in London That You Must See

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As one of the fashion capitals of the world, London celebrates its style with a slew of fashion-focused exhibits around the city.

Famous for starting trends like punk, and being the hometown of couture designers like Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney, London is one of the fashion capitals of the world. In 2024, London celebrates style with a host of eye-catching fashion exhibits.

Chic Chanel

The most coveted ticket in town is for Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto. The fashion exhibit at the V&A Museum is the first ever UK exhibition dedicated to Chanel’s ICONIC style. It opened to coincide with London Fashion Week in September 2023 and runs into February 2024.

The exhibition takes visitors on a tour of Coco Chanel’s career from the creation of the House of CHANEL to the designs that changed the way women dress and the definition of couture. 

The fashion exhibit features more than 200 outfits, accessories, jewelry, cosmetics and fragrances that define the career of Coco Chanel. The exhibit displays rarely seen items, and Chanel outfits worn by Hollywood icons like Marlene Dietrich and Lauren Bacall. 

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Tracing Chanel’s legacy, the exhibit has 10 themed sections that focus on the French designer’s approach to fabric, construction and silhouettes. Visitors will also learn more about Chanel’s own life from her transformation from orphan to iconic fashion designer, her famous friendships and romances, and her seemingly contradictory political leanings that saw her as both a Nazi collaborator and a member of the French Resistance.  

Diva Designs

While not just a fashion exhibit, Diva at the V&A Museum showcases many outfits worn by the divas of music, stage and film that any fashion lover would be remiss to miss. 

Celebrating the power, creativity and style of top performers, visitors can see sketches and costumes including Elton John’s 50th birthday outfit, Bob Mackie’s sketch of Tina Turner’s flame dress and the Dior dress worn by Vivien Leigh in Duel of Angels at the Apollo Theatre. 

The fashion exhibit runs until April 10, 2024. 

The Missing Thread

The Missing Thread fashion exhibit in London at Somerset House explores Black British fashion from the 1970s to the present. The show, which runs until April 2024 doesn’t look at fashion in a vacuum, but rather how Black culture influenced Black British fashion. Garments are interwoven with art, memorabilia, videos and other cultural pieces to tell the story of Black British style. 

The Missing Thread fashion exhibit highlights one of England’s most influential Black fashion designers, the late Joe Casely-Hayford. It’s the first time the designer’s archives are in an exhibition in the UK. The show also shines a spotlight on contemporary Black fashion designers like Saul Nash, Nicholas Daley and Bianca Saunders. 

Jewish Designers and British Style

Remember the colorful Bellville Sassoon coat Princess Diana wore when announcing her pregnancy with Prince William? It along with many other historic garments go on display this fall during Fashion City: How Jewish Londoners Shaped Global Style at the Museum of London Docklands. The fashion exhibit celebrates the contribution Jewish designers and retailers have made to the world of fashion.

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In addition to Princess Diana’s outfit, visitors can see works from designers like Mr. Fish, who dressed stars like David Bowie and Mick Jagger, wedding dresses from Netty Spiegel and hats from master milliner Otto Lucas. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, more than 200,000 Jewish people arrived in London’s East end, with more than half finding work in textiles and fashion retail. The fashion exhibit weaves these immigrant stories with the standout fashion designs brought to life by Jewish designers.

With everything from historic and royal fashion to high-end designers and the latest streetwear, London is a city where style is on display at every turn. With fashion exhibitions across the city and some of the best stores on the planet, London is a must-see destination for every style maven.  

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