14 Unmissable fashion exhibitions opening in 2020

Judah, Hettie. Vogue Australia

The Met may have set the agenda for blockbuster fashion exhibitions, but it’s no longer alone. From Prada’s first solo museum show to a retrospective of the late Peter Lindbergh and Vogue Paris’s centenary extravaganza, these are the hottest fashion exhibition tickets to book now.


The clock is already ticking in the run up to the Met Museum’s agenda-setting show on fashion and time. (And yes, that probably means we can look forward to a Met Gala filled with melting clocks, hourglasses and sundials.) Good news, too, for those who set their watches by Miuccia Prada: this year her fashion house gets a major survey show at the Design Museum in London.


Kwame Brathwaite’s era-defining photographs celebrating black beauty are touring the US, while two exhibitions in Tokyo and London pay homage to the timeless elegance of the kimono. Homage to the high heel comes courtesy of Christian Louboutin in Paris, while 1930s ‘balletomania’ is celebrated in New York.


It’s finally time, too, for the reopening of the Paris Palais Galliera. Details fresh in suggest it will throw open its doors this spring to an exhibition dedicated to Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, followed by a celebration of – what else? – French Vogue. Below is our shortlist of the fashion exhibitions that should make your 2020 list.


Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite


Brathwaite started his photographic career capturing the dynamism of jazz clubs in 1950s South Bronx. Co-founder of the African Jazz Arts Society and Studios, he became committed to ideals of black empowerment and economic independence. A protest outside a white-owned wig shop in Harlem inspired Brathwaite to help found Grandassa Models: a troupe celebrating black beauty, natural hair and fashions. Grandassa offered an alternative to the template of white beauty promoted by magazines of the time. “We said, ‘We’ve got to do something to make the women feel proud of their hair, proud of their blackness’,” Brathwaite told The New Yorker. Running throughout the 1960s, Grandassa’s annual ‘Naturally’ fashion shows were a central force in the Black Is Beautiful movement, epitomised today by Brathwaite’s photographs.


December 4, 2019 - March 1, 2020, Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco
June 27 - September 6, 2020, Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, South Carolina
November 13, 2020 - April 11, 2021, The New-York Historical Society, New York, NY
February 2, 2022 - May 8, 2022, Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Winston-Salem, NC

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