5 of the best fashion exhibitions to see in the UK and Ireland right now

10th Jun 19 | Beauty

Whether it’s Swinging Sixties miniskirts or the history of gloves, there’s something for everyone.

Mary Quant show

Fashion and art are so interlinked, it’s almost impossible to extricate the two.

That’s what makes fashion-based exhibitions so interesting – they’re visually stunning, but can also reveal much about the history, trends and politics of the time.

These are some of the best fashion exhibitions from the UK and Ireland you should think about visiting soon…

1. An Enquiring Mind: Manolo Blahník at the Wallace Collection – London

The close relationship between art and fashion is exactly what’s highlighted at this new exhibition (opening today) dedicated to shoe designer Manolo Blahník at the Wallace Collection, London.

Blahník has selected some of his favourite designs from his personal archives, and they’ve been curated to match up with pieces from the Wallace Collection. It’s set to be a particularly interesting – and beautiful – contrast between some old, influential pieces of art and modern fashion.

Free entry, open until September 1.

2. Orla Kiely: A Life in Pattern – Edinburgh

After the success of this exhibition at the Fashion & Textile Museum in London, Orla Kiely’s work is on tour and now at Edinburgh’s Dovecot Studios.

It’s an intimate look into the colourful, floral patterns of Irish designer Kiely, giving a glimpse into how she came to influence graphic trends.

Entry £9,  exhibition runs until June 29.

3. Mary Quant – London

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Enjoying the Mary Quant Exhibition at the V&A Museum in South Kensington. The fashion queen of Britain’s Swinging Sixties, we (women) have a lot to thank her for – she created hot pants, the skinny rib sweater, waterproof mascara and of course, popularised the mini… 👗🧵🧶 #BritishDesigner #WeWantQuant @vamuseum @maryquant_official @maryquant_europe . . . . . #southkensington #maryquant #vamuseum #britishfashion #britishdesigners #londonfashion #londondesigner #vintagefashions #alwaysinstyle #londonstyle #britishstyle #sixtiesfashion #sixtiesstyle #styleicons #londonexhibition #londonmuseums #londonmuseum #berkeleysqb #londondays #londonlove #fashiondesigners #60sstyle #swingingsixties #britishstyle #invogue #1960sfashion #60sfashion #1960sstyle

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The Victoria & Albert Museum’s blockbuster fashion exhibition on Christian Dior is sold out, but you shouldn’t be too disappointed – its retrospective on Mary Quant is just as good, and far less crowded.

It’s an energetic and colourful look at the designer who defined the Swinging Sixties. Expect lots of interesting, out-there designs and a healthy dose of female empowerment.

At £12 it’s cheaper and easier to get into than Dior, and is running until February 16, 2020.

4. Glove Stories – Bath

Gloves might seem a fairly irrelevant fashion accessory, but this exhibition at the Fashion Museum in Bath will show you just how interesting its history can be.

It’s really got everything, whether it’s gloves worn by knights in the 1600s, a Soviet astronaut’s glove or a costume piece from Star Wars film The Empire Strikes Back.

You can visit Glove Stories with a Fashion Museum ticket, which costs £9.50 on the door. The exhibition is open until March 2020.

5. Alison Lowry: (A)Dressing Our Hidden Truths – Dublin

This exhibition at the Museum of Decorative Arts & History in Dublin, isn’t solely dedicated to fashion, but there are items of clothing weaved throughout.

At its centre is a glass sculpture by Co Antrim artist Alison Lowry, and the exhibition is “an artistic response to the legacy of mother and baby homes and Magdalene laundries”. It addresses ideas around sex, rape culture and consent. One section is dedicated to christening robes, and another features a glass and leather suit of armour Lowry created with designer Úna Burke.

Entry free, on display until May 2020.

© Press Association 2019