Upcoming fashion and art exhibitions to see in London – WWD
As the UK prepares to be one of the first nations to drop all social distancing rules, cultural institutions are gearing up to stage major exhibitions that have been expertly curated during the COIVD-19 pandemic for crowds hungry for London.
WWD is compiling here a list of exciting fashion and art exhibitions set to open in the first half of 2022.
Shaping Masculinities: The Art of Men’s Fashion
Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL, from March 19 to November 6
The institution’s first major men’s exhibition, it will present around a hundred looks and 100 works from the Renaissance to the present day. Contemporary looks from fashion designers such as Harris Reed, Craig Green, Grace Wales Bonner and Raf Simons will be on display alongside historical items from the V&A’s collections, such as paintings by Sofonisba Anguissola and Joshua Reynolds, works of art contemporaries by Robert Longo and Omar Victor Diop, and an excerpt from the men’s ballet “Spitfire” by Matthew Bourne.
Key looks worn by fashion icons will also be dotted, from Harry Styles, Billy Porter and Sam Smith, to David Bowie and Marlene Dietrich, highlighting the multiplicities of male sartorial expression, dressing beyond the binary.
The exhibition will open with a Spring 2021 Craig Green set and will be followed by three main galleries with the themes Undressed, Overdressed and Redressed.
Undressed will explore the male body and underwear in a utopian dreamscape. This part will examine how classic European ideals of masculinity have been perpetuated and challenged over the centuries. Examples of traditional idealized male bodies such as plaster casts of the Apollo Belvedere and Hermes Farnese will rub shoulders with contemporary depictions of the body from David Hockney, Lionel Wendt, Zanele Muholi and Isaac Julien to a Calvin Klein advertisement .
This section will also feature clothing by Jean Paul Gaultier and Samuel Ross of A-Cold-Wall to show how fashion is changing masculine ideals and celebrating body diversity, as well as Auguste Rodin’s Age of Bronze sculpture and ‘Tiresias’ , a performance by Cassils. .
The Overdressed section will explore the elite male wardrobe. It will feature armored breastplates, tuxedo suits, sweeping capes, ribbons and lace. This part will also include grooming, with make-up and shaving equipment.
Aristocratic portraits by Joshua Reynolds and Jean-Baptiste Perronneau will sit alongside pink ensembles by Harris Reed and Grace Wales Bonner, as well as modern fashions by Kim Jones for Fendi, Alessandro Michele for Gucci, Rahemur Rahman, Ahluwalia and Orange Culture. A bespoke Randi Rahm look – a suit and full-length embroidered cape with hot pink lining – worn by Billy Porter at the Golden Globes in 2019 will also be featured.
The final part of the exhibition, Redressed, will highlight the evolution of costume design, from the thought leader of English Regency-era fashion, Beau Brummell, to contemporary catwalks. He will describe the costume’s origins with historic garments from the V&A collection featured alongside contemporary reimaginings, including a Nicholas Daley kilt.
This section will also discuss British subcultures that sought to define their styles through tailoring such as the Mods and Teddy Boys, as well as men’s interest in leather coats and frock coats with examples from Tom Ford, Donatella Versace, Prada, Alexander McQueen and Raf Simons.
The final part of the section will explore the dissolution of the concept of suiting, with testimonials from designers like Rick Owens, Jonathan Anderson, Comme des Garçons and Lesiba Mabitsela, showing how they deconstruct the idea of menswear and masculinity.
Dave Benett: great photo, kid
JD Malat Gallery, 30 Davies Street, London W1K 4NB, from February 17 to March 8
The exhibition, co-curated by Dylon Jones, will highlight some of Benett’s best unpublished work during his four-decade career covering London’s party scene.
Arguably the most important photographer at any VIP event in London, Benett has earned the trust of some of the most exclusive personalities over the years. He films royals up close and has captured some of the most iconic moments in pop culture history, like Prince Charles hanging out with Prince and Donatella Versace, Princess Diana having fun with Liza Minnelli and Liz Hurley in the Versace safety pin dress on Hugh Grant’s arm.
This is the first time that Benett’s work will be on public display. The exhibition will offer an overview of his entire career as well as exclusive images of historical and pop-cultural events.
Surrealism beyond borders
Tate Modern, Bankside London SE1 9TG, from February 24 to August 29
The exhibition aims to show the extent of the surrealist movement, going beyond the limits of a time or a place. Over 150 works will be included spanning over 80 years and 50 countries, ranging from painting and photography to sculpture and film, many of which have never been shown in the UK.
Rarely seen works include photographs by Cecilia Porras and Enrique Grau, who challenged conservative social conventions in 1950s Colombia, and paintings by exiled Spanish artist Eugenio Granell, whose radical political commitments made him a target of censorship and persecution.
The exhibition also includes iconic paintings such as “Two Children Are Threatened by a Nightingale” by Max Ernst, as well as lesser-known but important works like “Landru at the Hotel” by Antonio Berni and “Yobi-goe (L ‘call)” by Toshiko Okanoue’s daily experience of post-war Japan.
Whistler’s Woman in White: Joanna Hiffernan
Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD, February 26 to May 22
The exhibition focuses on James McNeill Whistler’s muse, Joanna Hiffernan. Little about his role or influence has been explored, and it’s the first major show that explores his close professional and personal relationship with the artist that spanned two decades and uncovers how Whistler’s groundbreaking paintings featuring Hiffernan continued to influence later artists from the pre-Raphaelites to Klimt.
Consisting of over 70 works, the exhibition will bring together nearly all of Hiffernan’s depictions of Whistler, and include paintings, prints, drawings, and related artworks and ephemera.
A fine line in fashion: the art of Gladys Perint Palmer
Gray MCA Gallery, Cromwell Place, London SW7 2JE, February 15-20
The exhibition brings together over 30 original fashion illustrations by British fashion illustrator, journalist and author Gladys Perint Palmer. Over the past four decades, she has contributed to publications such as Vogue, The New York Times, L’Officiel, Grazia, Harper’s Bazaar, The Sunday Times and San Francisco Examiner with her electric illustrations.
The exhibition highlights the fine line of a fashion illustrator who includes not only fashion but also the models who walked for fashion houses like Dior, Burberry, Balenciaga, Christian Lacroix, Philip Treacy, Oscar de la Renta , Alexander McQueen and Karl Lagerfeld.
Bethany Williams: Alternative Systems
Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High Street, London W8 6AG, from February 22
While Bethany Williams has decided to step away from her brand due to health issues, the brand will unveil the new collection and display Alternative Systems on the last day of the upcoming London Fashion Week.
The exhibition, which features pieces from collaborations with community projects and objects made from recycled materials, will continue to be part of the museum’s free display after the show for the public to enjoy.