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The five must-visit fashion exhibitions in the UK this summer

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This summer, indulge and broaden your historical fashion knowledge by visiting five of the best fashion exhibitions the UK has to offer.  

Whether you are based in London or fancy heading up to Edinburgh for a weekend away, this summer, enjoy the retro genius of Orla Kiely, or take a nostalgic trip down Girl Power Lane - this summers' fashion exhibitions have something to tickle everyone's fancy.

Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier
Design Museum, London
May 10 - October 7 2018 

If Elle says it’s a ‘must see’ then who are we to argue?

Featuring a highly-coveted collection of hand-crafted works; the Azzedine Alaïa exhibition is a celebration of the work and life of the late fashion curator. 

A designer whose clients included the likes of Greta Garbo and Michelle Obama, you would not be able to find an Alaïa in any high-street store. Unlike his contemporaries, Alaïa refused to be tempted by the calling of fast-fashion and the pressure of fashion week deadlines. Each Alaïa creation is exactly that, a personally constructed creation, bespoke and beautiful, designed specifically for buy or purpose.

More than just a collection, the exhibition offers an incredibly intimate insight into Alaïa’s journey as an artist and a designer, from both a professional and a personal perspective.  

Liberty Art Fabrics & Fashion
Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh
July 28 2018 - January 12 2019

A retrospective celebration of Liberty London is setting up shop in Edinburgh’s Dovecot Studios from late July until January 2019.  

The exhibition will showcase over 100 innovative patterns, fabrics and garments that Liberty have pledged their name to in their 140 years of activity.

Featuring a variety of their first pieces, including those inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites, contrasting with their more modern-day offerings; the Liberty London exhibition is perfect for those interested in how the face of fashion has changed, as well as how the brand itself has developed.

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up
V&A, London
June 16 - November 4 2018

Described as “an extraordinary testimony to suffering and spirit” by The Observer, the Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up exhibition is taking over the V&A until early November.  

The curation consists of numerous personal artefacts and clothing owned by Kahlo herself.  Excitingly, the collection in its full form has never been exhibited outside Mexico before - meaning this exhibition is a must-see. 

Objects included in the exhibition include Khalo’s prosthetic leg adorned with a red leather boot, a selection of her most prized cosmetics as well as many of the late artists’ most iconic dresses.  

Orla Kiely: A Life in Pattern
Fashion and Textile Museum, London
May 25 - September 23 2018

This summer, London’s Fashion and Textiles Museum plays host to one of the most iconic and celebrated fashion designers of the modern day; Orla Kiely OBE. 

Featuring 150 objects (including hand-drawn first drafts of designs as well as photographs) the Irish designer’s showcase is one of the fashion exhibition calendar year highlights.

Described as “the Queen of Prints” via The Guardian, Orla Kiely began her career creating hats, and has since has had her designs used on a range of Citroën DS3 cars and has crafted her own refillable water bottle (the ‘wottle’).  Her retro prints have, and shall continue to inspire a generation to come.  Make this a must on your summer schedule.

SpiceUP: An Exhibition About The Spice Girls
Business Design Centre, London + Manchester Central, Manchester
28 July - 20 August 2018 (London) + 24 August - 4 September 2018 (Manchester)

The travelling Spice Girls exhibition SpiceUP will first be held at London’s Business Design Centre in Angel Islington, before heading up to Manchester Central in the North West of the UK. 

Spreading girl power, celebrating badass women and causing UK fans to take a well-needed trip down memory lane, the nostalgic SpiceUp exhibition is set to be monumental. 

Featuring 90’s memorabilia, official Spice Girls merchandise and some of their iconic costumes, the exhibition is expected to be vivid, colourful and a must for any pop music fan.

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