August fashion exhibitions

Yet another exhibition dedicated to building and maintaining the legacy of the house of Dior has opened, this time in Melbourne. Meanwhile The Museum for Lace and Fashion in Calais celebrates Christian Dior’s contemporary, Hubert de Givenchy. We have also included section towards the end titled ‘ALSO…’ that aims to highlight thought-provoking exhibitions that explore subjects beyond clothing.  


Christian Dior with fashion model Victoire wearing the "Zaire" dress (Autumn-Winter Haute Couture collection, H line) 1954 © 2013 Mark Shaw

Christian Dior with fashion model Victoire wearing the ‘Zaire’ dress (1954). Source: Mark Shaw

The House of Dior – Seventy Years of Haute Couture at The National Gallery Of Victoria (Melbourne)
until 7 November

In celebration of the seventieth anniversary of the House of Dior, one of the world’s most prestigious couture houses, the National Gallery of Victoria presents The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture. Exclusive to Melbourne, this exhibition is a collaboration between the NGV and the House of Dior and includes a sumptuous display of more than 140 garments designed by Christian Dior Couture between 1947 and 2017. 

The House of Dior explores the story of the fashion house through a series of themes, featuring works by the seven designers who have played key roles in shaping Dior’s renowned fashionable silhouette: Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri. The exhibition narrates the rich history of the fashion house, including Christian Dior’s early influences, the design codes synonymous with the House of Dior, insights into the Dior atelier workrooms, the role that accessories have played in expressing the complete Dior look and the milestones of its six successive designers following Christian Dior’s sudden death in 1957.

Highlights include examples from Christian Dior’s iconic spring 1947 New Look collection, magnificent displays of Dior’s signature ball gowns and evening dresses, as well as designs from the inaugural couture collection of the House’s first female head designer, Maria Grazia Chiuri. Dior’s unique and longstanding affinity with Australia is also examined, including the historic Spring 1948 fashion parade at David Jones, Sydney, where models wore fifty original creations by Christian Dior. This was the first complete Dior collection to be shown outside of Paris.



Hubert de Givenchy at The Museum for Lace and Fashion (Calais)
31 December 2017

Throughout his life, Hubert de Givenchy dressed a loyal cosmopolitan clientele including celebrities such as Jacqueline Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn, his muse and friend. The pieces on show demonstrate an acute sense of elegance and exquisite cultural refinement. Among other sources of inspiration, we recognise the influence of artists dear to the couturier such as Miró, de Staël, Delaunay and Rothko, but also the opulence of the eighteenth century with the use of deep colours, precious materials and sumptuous drapery.

From his 1952 “separates” to the vaporous wedding dresses in tulle and lace of his later years of design, 90 pieces pay tribute to one of the greatest couturiers of the twentieth century. They originate from prestigious private wardrobes, the Givenchy fashion house archives and the collections of European museums, including the large Givenchy holding of the Museum for Lace and Fashion.



Fashion & Freedom at Freedom Festival (Hull)
until 3 September 2017

The onset of war in 1914 changed British society. As men left to fight in Europe, over a million women went to work for the first time. New responsibility gave women new freedom and led to new ways of dressing, as silhouettes and social codes changed.

Fashion & Freedom presents original designs by Holly Fulton, Roksanda, J JS Lee, Vivienne Westwood, Emilia Wickstead and Sadie Williams, new film from SHOWstudio and Luke Snellin, and works by the next generation of fashion talent – all influenced by the new fashions and freedoms worn and won by women in 1914-18.

Fashion & Freedom is part of 14-18 NOW, a five-year programme of extraordinary arts experiences connecting people with the First World War. Working in partnership with cultural organisations UK-wide, 14-18 NOW commissions new work by leading contemporary artists across the spectrum of the visual arts and design, theatre, film, dance, digital, music, poetry and mass-participation events, inspired by the period 1914-1918.




Anarchéologie at Centre Pompidou (Paris)
until 11 September 2017

All power,” writes Michel Foucault, “only ever rests on the contingency and fragility of a history.” The development of archaeology as a science in the early 19th century testifies to an imaginary of origins that accompanied the creation of the European nation-states. Witness to this are the idea of the universal museum and the collections of casts intended to extend knowledge even as they firmly set the confines of art. If this “Western heritage” has today been brought into question by postcolonial critique, the myths of the past remain, shifted, reformulated and revitalised more than ever in a globalised world.

“Anarchaeology” was a word coined by philosopher Michel Foucault when, in his lectures at the Collège de France in the late 1970s, he imagined an anarchy of knowledge where the various regimes of truth could be investigated inch by inch. With this word, he sought above all to argue “the non-necessity of power as the principle of intelligibility of knowledge itself.”

The different artistic projects assembled in this exhibition are all concerned in one way or another with archaeology itself. In forms both visual and discursive, Ali Cherri, Christoph Keller, Oliver Laric, Amina Menia, Jumana Manna, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Maria Taniguchi, and the collective Umashankar and the Earchaeologists – consisting of Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Nida Ghouse and Umashankar Manthravadi – all cast a lucid and critical eye on the archaeological imaginary and its effects today. Their works above all touch on an erosion of certainties, engaging in artistic meditations on discordant truths. The abolition of time and space in the digital condition marshals together, on the same plane, the most contemporary of technologies and ancient skills revived. It is through such dyschronic moments that these works interrogate the regimes of knowledge of both past and present.


Between the Two my Heart is Balanced 1991 Lubaina Himid born 1954 Presented by the Patrons of New Art (Special Purchase Fund) through the Tate Gallery Foundation 1995

Between the Two my Heart is Balanced (1991) Lubaina Himid

Soul Of A Nation: Art In The Age Of Black Power at Tate Modern (London)
until 22 October

Soul of a Nation shines a bright light on the vital contribution of Black artists to a dramatic period in American art and history.

The show opens in 1963 at the height of the Civil Rights movement and its dreams of integration. In its wake emerged more militant calls for Black Power: a rallying cry for African American pride, autonomy and solidarity, drawing inspiration from newly independent African nations.

Artists responded to these times by provoking, confronting, and confounding expectations. Their momentum makes for an electrifying visual journey. Vibrant paintings, powerful murals, collage, photography, revolutionary clothing designs and sculptures made with Black hair, melted records, and tights – the variety of artworks reflects the many viewpoints of artists and collectives at work during these explosive times.

Some engage with legendary figures from the period, with paintings in homage to political leaders Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Angela Davis, musician John Coltrane and sporting hero Jack Johnson. Muhammad Ali appears in Andy Warhol’s famous painting.


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