10 Fashion Exhibitions We’re Dying to Discover

Creative curatorial spaces from around the world worth investigation (and potentially, a plane ticket)

Alaïa Couture Courtesy of NRW-Forum Düsseldorf

Alaïa Couture; Courtesy of NRW-Forum Düsseldorf

As any style enthusiast will attest to, the social and cultural implications of fashion are well worth curatorial exploration. From The Bata Shoe Museum uncovering how urban African-American youth made sneakers trendy to FIT investigating the queer community’s long withstanding connection to clothing, we love intelligent reflection on all things beauty and fashion.  Fortunately for us, there’s a diverse and dynamic set of gallery and museum exhibits taking place around the globe this summer. Check out our round up of 10 fashion exhibitions we’re longing to see:

Azzedine Alaïa in the 21st Century, on view now until September 8

Marvel in the exquisite creations of couturier Azzedine Alaïa compiled by curator Mark Wilson. Discover how the creative craftsman meticulously manipulates a variety of luxurious fabrications: each room in the exhibit focuses on a different material that Alaïa consistently works with including velvet, fur, wool, animal skins, chiffon and knitwear.

Location: NRW-Forum, Düsseldorf

Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture, on now until March 30, 2014

Curated by Elizabeth Semmelhack and designed by Karim Rashid, the bright and bold shoe exhibit explores the rich history of sneakers (originally called plimsoles.) Displaying kicks from hip hop legends like Run DMC and sneakerheads like Bobbito Garcia, Out of the Box pays homage to the ways music, sport and urban culture have turned sneakers into sought-after objects of desire that inspire many high-fashion footwear designs today.

Location: The Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto

Little Black Dress Exhibit, on now until Sept 22

Curated by André Leon Talley, the exhibit focuses on the much-loved LBD fashion phenomenon. Mapping the style’s social significance, attandees have a chance to take in a diversity of timeless dresses on display in the elegant French space.

Location: The Mona Bismarck American Center for Art and Culture, Paris

Artist/Rebel/Dandy: Men of Fashion, on now until August 18

The exhibit celebrates well-dressed gentleman from across the ages, tracing the dandy aesthetic from its roots in early nineteenth century Britain. From Oscar Wilde to Ouigi Theodore, Artist/Rebel/Dandy explores both historic and contemporary examples of men in pursuit of beauty, elegance and sophistication.

Location: Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence

Comme des Garçons, washed denim dress and pants on display; Courtesy of Seattle Art Museum

Comme des Garçons washed denim dress and pants; Courtesy of Seattle Art Museum

Future Beauty: 30 years of Japanese Fashion, on now until September 8

This detailed exhibit honours how innovative and imaginative Japanese designers have re-conceptualized and reshaped high fashion. Bringing together nearly 100 avant-garde garments from over the last three decades, extraordinary works from the likes of Issey Miyake, Kenzo Takada, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto are on display.

Location: Seattle Art Museum, Seattle

Christian Louboutin, on now until September 15

Hundreds of the iconic French designer’s red-sole stunners are on display, as well as sketches, personal photographs and a special photo collaboration with David Lynch.

For a special shoe spectating experience, check out Grand Soiree Thursdays by Grand Marnier on August 15 and September 12 and enjoy cocktails and canapés from Parkdale hot spot Parts and Labour. Visit to purchase tickets.

Location: The Design Exchange, Toronto

Courtesy of Annenberg Space for Photography

Photography by Helmut Newton; Courtesy of Annenberg Space for Photography

Helmut Newton: White Women, Sleepless Night, Big Nudes, on now until September 8

Known for capturing beautiful female subjects in a state of heightened sexuality, the controversial visionary is celebrated for blurring the lines between art, fashion and photography. The Helmut Newton retrospective features hundreds of his most powerful and provocative works alongside a documentary highlighting the ways he’s impacted and influenced the creative industries.

Location: Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles

Zandra Rhodes D.I.Y. Hardware Dresses on Display; Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Zandra Rhodes D.I.Y. Hardware Dresses; Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Punk: Chaos to Couture, on now until August 14

Unarguably one of the most talked about exhibitions of the year (in part thanks to the fashion frenzy that takes place around the annual MET Gala kickoff), Punk: Chaos to Couture highlights how the hard-hitting music movement has influenced high fashion. Curated by Andrew Bolton, the exhibit offers an impactful multi-sensory production people are raving about.

Location: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Hat-ology, open to the public during Milan Fashion Week on September 22

Commemorating the wonderfully eccentric Anna Piaggi, the late fashion editor’s iconic hat collection will be on display this fall in conjunction with Milan Fashion Week. Curated by her close confidant, milliner Stephen Jones, the exhibition will be installed to look like Piaggi’s colourful and quirky Italian apartment.

Location:  The Palazzo Morando, Milan

Courtesy of The Museum at FIT

Butch Chanel Photography by Michael James O’Brien; Courtesy of The Museum at FIT

A Queer History of Fashion, open September 13 to January 4

Acknowledging fashion’s intimate relationship with gender, identity and sexuality, FIT is set to launch a groundbreaking exhibition looking at modern design and style through the lens of the LGBTQ community. Addressing the fact that an undeniable number of fashion greats have been gay men, A Queer History of Fashion is set to uncover the unique and distinctly individual experiences queer people have with clothing.

Location:  The Special Exhibitions Gallery at FIT, New York City