Fashion exhibitions including Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany, Alber Elbaz, Dior, and Gianni Versace

Before the roster of exhibitions was announced by leading fashion houses this year, visiting a gallery or gallery-like space to view the creative works by fashion designers, couturiers and craftsmen was not the norm. In 2015, a notable exhibition by Louis Vuitton titled LOUIS VUITTON SERIES 3  was held in London. The curation of the Louis Vuitton exhibition was memorable, and attracted its loyal fans but also began new connections with its younger clientele, specifically on the Petite Malle bag; the exhibition revealed the Petite Malle’s bag leather pattern, inviting potential clients to gain a deeper understanding of the craftsmanship and care to make each bag. Apart from that, exhibitions related to the fashion industry were often a retrospective of a designer’s work. An example is the sold-out Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition that debuted in the Metropolitan Museum of Art one year after the designer’s death, and was subsequently exhibited in London, England where McQueen was born.


The Art of Movement exhibition by Van Cleef & Arpels at the Design Museum, London. Image by Von Chua.

Most recently in London, we saw two luxury jewellers - Tiffany & Co. and Van Cleef & Arpels display their exquisite pieces at the Saatchi Gallery and the Design Museum respectively. Tiffany & Co.’s owner LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s team has previously shown their ability to deliver memorable exhibitions. This year, Van Cleef & Arpels, which is owned by Swiss luxury goods group Richemont, has chosen a more private approach in its exhibition at the Design Museum.

Vision & Virtuosity, Tiffany & Co. at the Saatchi Gallery, London (Exhibition ended)

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Featuring over 400 objects from Tiffany & Co.’s archives, the Vision & Virtuosity exhibition marks the jewellery house’s 150th anniversary in London. The exhibition was heavily visited by Londoners and tourists alike. Two elements of the exhibition stood out - Tiffany & Co.’s recently acquired Empire Diamond which is over 80 carats and continues to associate the brand as one of the world’s finest diamonds purveyors, as well as Tiffany & Co.’s show stopping window displays.

The Art of Movement, Van Cleef & Arpels at the Design Museum, London (Until 20th October 2022)

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Van Cleef & Arpels’ fascination with dance. Image by Von Chua.

Van Cleef & Arpel’s exhibition features almost a hundred creations from its archive since 1906, a number of lender masterpieces, and also historical documents including some early sketches of the jewellery pieces. In this particular exhibition titled The Art of Movement, the jeweller’s team illustrates the Maison’s long-term fascination with movement that extends to elegant high jewellery. The ability in devising complicated mechanics with an air of effortlessness, the unexpected use of precious materials, the dynamism and three-dimensionality is a deep reflection of how Van Cleef & Arpels are in a league of their own. The exhibition is divided into four themes: Nature Alive, Dance, Elegance and Abstract Movements and is free to attend. A highly recommended way to spend an hour or two if you’re in London. 

Love Brings Love: The Alber Elbaz Tribute Show at Palais Galliera, Paris (Exhibition ended)

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Following the late and ex-creative director of Lanvin Alber Elbaz’s passing in 2021, the AZ Factory which is a fashion start-up Elbaz only founded in 2019, along with Palais Galliera was able to quickly turn around an exhibition in the fashion designer’s honour. As a tribute exhibition, the exhibition was contributed by 46 fashion houses - it really shows how Elbaz was perceived and respected in the industry. The designers who contributed each came up with a perspective on fashion design, a take on contemporary issues and created looks inspired by the designer’s legacy.

La Galerie Dior, 11 rue Francois Ier, Paris (Tickets are available in the link below)

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Christian Dior’s collections were born in the location of La Galerie Dior for over seventy years. As if a return to its roots, La Galerie Dior exhibition brings the collections from Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferre, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri all under one roof. Staged by Nathalie Crinière, the exhibition is split into thirteen themes beginning with Christian Dior’s passions that drove his inspiration.

Gianni Versace Retrospective at the Groninger Museum, the Netherlands (From 3rd December 2022 to 7th May 2023)

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Ahead of Versace’s 25th death anniversary, the Groninger Museum in Groninger will be honouring the late Italian fashion designer Versace by showcasing his iconic designs, his sketches, an exploration of his influence and exclusive footage. The exhibition is curated by Gianni Versace’s experts Karl von der Ahé and Saskia Lubnow. Often viewed as an eccentric fashion designer with lavish catwalk shows that mark the fashion calendar, the fashion industry lost a trailblazing fashion designer who was able to link fashion with music, graphic design and photography.

The appetite for fashion exhibitions from the fashion houses is clear - to celebrate some of the key anniversaries and retrospectives of influential fashion designers, fashion exhibitions are likely not going to be a one-off event but will serve as an alternative way for the brands to share their values and craft developed, some which span centuries. I cannot wait to see what comes next.