From Barbie to Naomi to Paolo Roversi, the style shows you have to see | Fashion

Our television screens are awash with incredible fashion programmes at the moment. From Disney’s exploration of the gorgeous world of Cristóbal Balenciaga’s original haute couture to Apple TV+’s deep dive into the rivalry between Christian Dior and Coco Chanel in The New Look, and Kevin Macdonald’s shocking yet illuminating insight into John Galliano, being a couch potato has never been more stylish.

However if you’re on a mission to reduce your screen time, then there are also plenty of fashion-focused exhibitions to entice you to venture out into the real world.

Here’s a roundup of the best to bookmark now …

The Biba Story, 1964-1975
Charting the rise of Barbara Hulanicki’s Biba, this exhibition explores how the niche and cheap London clothing label became a full-blown lifestyle brand encompassing a giant store on Kensington High Street spanning makeup, food and interiors. Visitors will see more than 40 outfits from the 60s and 70s including some from Hulanicki’s private archives alongside clothing loaned by private collectors. With fans including Twiggy, Cher and Brigitte Bardot, expect plenty of psychedelic florals and leopard print.
22 March to 8 September 2024, Fashion and Textile Museum, London

Icons of British Fashion
Featuring some of the biggest names from British fashion past and present, this exhibition is gearing up to be Blenheim Palace’s biggest to date. Alongside clothing and accessories from designers including Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney, Jean Muir and Bruce Oldfield, there will be archival materials, sketches and original patterns for visitors to pore over. Each room will be dedicated to a different icon, creating an opulent and very Instagrammable setting.
23 March to 30 June 2024, Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

Unpicking Couture
Celebrating craft, creativity and a sustainable approach to repair work, this exhibition highlights the people behind some of the fashion world’s most groundbreaking haute couture looks, including Christian Dior and Alexander McQueen. Allowing viewers to get up close to vintage pieces, it also spotlights Charles Worth, the Lincolnshire-born fashion designer who is often labelled the “father of haute couture”. A recently restored 1930s silk velvet jacket by Italian couturier Elsa Schiaparelli is a must-see.
Until 12 January 2025, Manchester Art Gallery

Barbie: The Exhibition curator Danielle Thom with a selection of dolls. Photograph: James Manning/PA

Barbie: The Exhibition
Margot Robbie might have finally said farewell to her #Barbiecore wardrobe, but outside Hollywood the Barbie effect is still in full swing. To celebrate the brand’s 65th birthday, the Design Museum has teamed up with Mattel on a huge new exhibition three years in the making. Featuring more than 180 dolls, fashion is a key focus as it tracks and traces Barbie’s clothing starting with the OG doll created by Ruth Handler in 1959.
5 July to 23 February 2025, Design Museum, London

Material Power Palestinian Embroidery
Charting the evolution of embroidery in Palestine over the past century, this exhibition features more than 40 dresses and embroidered objects, many borrowed from private collectors in Jordan and Palestine as it “seeks to unfold an intimate, human history of Palestine through clothing”. The ancient practice, called tatreez in Arabic, is known for its beautiful and complex techniques, materials and motifs. Primarily undertaken by women, it has become a powerful symbol of nationhood, often documenting the needleworker’s personal memories and experiences of resistance.
Until 7 April 2024, Whitworth, Manchester

Blandford Fashion Museum, Dorset
Set in a beautifully preserved Georgian House, the museum features a collection of pieces from the 1830s to the 1970s charting the changes in style throughout those years. With a rolling programme of exhibition changes, there is also a busy roster of talks throughout the year. In April, the lecturer and costume designer Anya Glinski will explore the romantic styles of the 1820s with its Bridgerton-esque corsets and puff-sleeved gowns.
Open daily Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Naomi Campbell at the Victoria and Albert museum. Photograph: Marco Bahler/V and A/PA

To celebrate Naomi Campbell’s incredible 40-year career, the V&A is dedicating its next spectacle to the fashion icon, the first time a model will be the sole focus of an exhibition at the institute. Alongside designer pieces from Campbell’s own wardrobe (spanning Azzedine Alaïa to Chanel), her close friend, former editor in chief of British Vogue Edward Enninful, is curating a selection of her greatest fashion photography, while another section will spotlight her philanthropic work.
From 22 June 2024, V&A Museum, London

Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion
Featuring about 250 items from the Costume Institute’s permanent collection, this is the exhibition that the Met Gala will celebrate on the first Monday in May by drawing on its theme with an official dress code “The Garden of Time”.

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As for the exhibition itself, many of the garments and accessories on display span four centuries and have rarely been seen in public. Some are even too fragile to be worn. Video animation and sensory stimulation techniques will be used to tell the stories around each piece. Everything from a 17th-century bodice to modern pieces from Stella McCartney that explore new regenerative materials.
10 May to 2 September 2024, The Met, New York

Paolo Roversi
With a career spanning nearly five decades, Paolo Roversi has become one of the most sought-after photographers in the fashion industry. This exhibition spotlights his sepia-toned black and white images, which are often shot in natural light. Expect to see some of his most memorable work with publications including W magazine, Vogue and i-D alongside his collaborations with Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garçons. There are also plenty of unseen images and Polaroid prints.
16 March to 14 July 2024, Palais Galliera, Paris

Iris van Herpen’s designs in Paris, 2019. Photograph: Benoît Tessier/Reuters

Fashion on the Move
Ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which kick off in Paris in July, this exhibition examines the part played by clothing in sport. Featuring more than 200 items, it aims to highlight how women’s clothing began to change towards the end of the 19th century to the present day where sportswear has become an everyday look. Everything from swimming costumes to cycling gear and moto jackets are featured “in order to show how the liberation of the body through physical activity has contributed to changing mentalities and beauty standards”.
From 26 April 2024, Palais Galliera, Paris

Iris van Herpen: Sculpting the Senses
Five years in the making, Sculpting the Senses pays tribute to the 39-year-old Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen. She is the youngest female designer to be the subject of a solo show at the museum. Known for her futuristic aesthetic, she was one of the earliest adopters of 3D printing. A selection of more than 100 haute couture pieces are juxtaposed with works from multidisciplinary artists such as Philip Beesley and architectural designers including Ferruccio Laviani.
Until 28 April 2024, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris

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