South Kensington celebrates fashion and style

South Kensington is a hub of culture and creativity, so what better place to celebrate the innovation and artistry of fashion. In 2017, organisations across South Kensington will showcase some of fashion's most inspiring talents and visions from throughout the past century.

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion at the V&A

This May, the V&A will open an exciting new exhibition: Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion. This showcase will celebrate the works of couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga, who opened his first fashion house in San Sebastian a century ago. The exhibition - the first to explore Balenciaga's work in the UK – will focus on the couturier's work in the 1950s and 1960s.

Displaying over 100 garments, sketches and patterns, the exhibition reflects on Balenciaga's unique approach to fashion through some of his most iconic pieces. The exhibit will also take a sneak peek right inside the designs themselves, using x-ray technology, and multimedia to reveal the structures and techniques Balenciaga used to perfect his creations.

‘Haute Couture is like an orchestra whose conductor is Balenciaga. We other couturiers are the musicians and we follow the direction he gives.’  - Christian Dior

The influence of Balenciaga continues to this day, and the V&A exhibit also explores how his vision has inspired designers today, showcasing work from Molly Goddard to Simone Rochca, J.W. Anderson and Demna Gvasalia, and many more. Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion opens at the V&A on 27 May 2017.

Fashion and Cinema at the Institut Francais

The Institut francais is celebrating the important links between fashion and cinema, by pairing film screenings with audience Q&A sessions with the iconic costume designers.

On February 8, meet Madeline Fontaine, the woman responsible for turning Natalie Portman into the beautiful First Lady in the iconic 2016 film Jackie. Then on March 8, Jurgen Doering will join film-goers to discuss his work styling Kristen Stewart for the film Personal Shopper.

These film and Q&A sessions will give fashion and film-lovers alike the chance to find out more about what goes on in behind the scenes to bring us the iconic looks we see on the big screen. More tickets and further information can be found on the Institut francais website.

Diana: Her Fashion Story at Kensington Palace

Diana, Princess of Wales, inspired many people through her public appearances and work with charities. Throughout her public life she also became a fashion icon and a trendsetter. Now, twenty years after her death, Kensington Palace are opening a new exhibition, Diana: Her Fashion Story, which will showcase the Princess's most well-know fashions.

The exhibition will explore how Diana's style evolved over time, and reflect on how the Princess used her public image to move and inspire a nation. It highlights how fashion and public persona are intertwined, and shape the way icons like Diana present themselves to the world.

From the pink blouse worn for the Princess's engagement portrait, to the elegant velvet gown Diana wore to the White House, this exhibition provides a glimpse into the Princess's style and fashion image. Diana: Her Fashion Story opens 24 February 2017 at Kensington Palace.

Fashion never stops

South Kensington's love of fashion doesn't stop there. From the V&A's permanent Fashion and Jewellery displays, to the Christie's South Kensington auctions on jewellery, handbags and more, there is always something to celebrate in fashion when you visit South Kensington. 

Want to know more about fashion in South Kensington? Check our our fashion listings page for more information about the latest fashion exhibits in the area.

Evening dress, silk taffeta, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, 1955 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion is at the V&A from 27 May 2017 - 18 February 2018 (Photo of evening dress, silk taffeta, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, 1955 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London)


Diana's 'Travolta' Dress', designed by Victor Edelstein, will be on display at Kensington Palace.