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Backstage at Iris Van Herpen Couture SS20 Paris 18
Backstage at Iris Van Herpen Couture SS20Photography Christina Fragkou

11 fashion exhibitions to get excited about in 2023

From Chanel’s London takeover and Louis Vuitton’s Parisian Dream, to Andy Warhol, Iris Van Herpen, and Paul Kooiker, these are the shows to stick in your diary this year

There’s no denying that the January blues have hit us like a ton of bricks. The cold nights, the rain, and the 2.5 hours – at best – of sunlight a day are currently being endured through gritted teeth. But when it comes to fashion, we have a lot to look forward to: from the upcoming menswear shows, to the AW23 couture and womenswear seasons, as well as a whole lot of brilliant exhibitions. 

Enough of watching BTS videos on TikTok: nothing quite beats seeing the magic of intricate embroidery, statement designs, or game-changing silhouettes up-close-and-personal. Back in 1968, author of Art, Life and the Fashion Museum Louise Wallenberg put it perfectly when she wrote, “Costume can tell us more than any other type of museum collection about how people looked, felt, and lived at any particular time. A garment can be regarded as the remaining outer shell of a living person and will reflect that person’s taste, position or way of life.”

Whether it’s as a way of understanding history through garments or a desire to escape into the fantasy beautiful clothing can conjure up, the last decade has seen us descend on fashion exhibitions like never before. Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams opened at London’s V&A in 2019 and broke the museum’s attendance records, attracting over 700,000 people across its seven-month tenure (good news: it’s now showing in Tokyo), while its current Africa fashion show has proved so popular the institution is looking to retain over 70 pieces for its permanent collection. Meanwhile, the New York Met’s 2018 Heavenly Bodies show similarly blew past attendance rates out of the water. 

Amounting to years of work by curators, historians, and creatives, there’s something about seeing masterful fashion that keeps us coming back for more. From initial references and original sketches, to early samples the final result, coming face to face with someone’s perfectly lit and positioned creative process is engrossing – not least because it’s so rare to have access to these treasures, given they’re so distant in an industry forever thriving off its exclusivity. 

As we roll into 2023, here’s a list of the shows you should be adding to your calendar – including landmark outings by Chanel, Iris Van Herpen, Louis Vuitton, and more.