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V&A to highlight menswear, Africa and Korea in 2022

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: courtesy of Gucci; Gucci Pre-Fall 2019 by photographer Harmony Korine

London’s V&A Museum is placing a spotlight on the fashion and creativity of Africa and South Korea, as well as staging its first major exhibition focusing on menswear as part of its 2022-2023 programme.

‘Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear’, joins ‘Africa Fashion’, which was announced in January, and ‘Hallyu! The Korean Wave’ as the V&A’s next headlining fashion and creative displays.

The menswear exhibition, ‘Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear’ will run from March 19, 2022, to November 6, 2022, and celebrate “the power, artistry and diversity of masculine attire and appearance”.

The exhibition will place a spotlight on the “unprecedented creativity in men’s fashion” by tracing how menswear has been fashioned and refashioned over the centuries by exploring how designers, tailors and artists – and their clients and sitters – have constructed and performed masculinity in different periods through clothing.

‘Fashioning Masculinities’ will bring together contemporary looks by legendary designers and rising stars alongside historical treasures from the V&A’s collections and landmark loans, from Renaissance paintings and sculpture to photography, film and performance.

V&A to host its first major menswear exhibition - ‘Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear’

Opening in June 2022, ‘Africa Fashion’ will bring together more than 250 objects, drawn from the personal archives of a selection of mid-twentieth century and influential contemporary African fashion creatives, alongside textiles and photographs from the V&A’s collection.

The exhibition will celebrate the “irresistible creativity, ingenuity and unstoppable global impact of contemporary African fashion creatives” to highlight the dynamic and varied fashion scene, as well as explore how music and the visual arts form a key part of Africa’s cultural renaissance.

Image: courtesy of the V&A; Kofi Ansah 'Indigo' Couture 1997 - Narh and Linda by Eric Don- Arthur

Following a major public call-out in January, new acquisitions highlighting African diasporic fashion trends of the day, paired with personal testimonies, will go on show for the first time, while also highlighting the new generation of designers, collectives, stylists and fashion photographers working across the continent today.

Commenting on the exhibition, Dr Christine Checinska, V&A’s curator of African and African Diaspora fashion, said in a statement: “The exhibit will present African fashions as a self-defining art form that reveals the richness and diversity of African histories and cultures.

“To showcase all fashions across such a vast region would be to attempt the impossible. Instead, Africa Fashion will celebrate the vitality and innovation of a selection of fashion creatives, exploring the work of the vanguard in the twentieth century and the creatives at the heart of this eclectic and cosmopolitan scene today. We hope this exhibition will spark a renegotiation of the geography of fashion and become a game-changer for the field.”

‘Africa Fashion’ will run from June 11, 2022, to April 16, 2023.

V&A to celebrate the popular culture of South Korea

Image: courtesy of Jason Decrow/Invision/AP/Shutterstock; Psy performs Gangnam Style on Today, 2012, New York, USA.

Another exhibition to feature fashion at the V&A in 2022 is ‘Hallyu! The Korean Wave’, a celebration of the creative contributions of South Korea across cinema, drama, music, fandom, beauty and fashion.

Running from September 24, 2022, until June 25, 2023, ‘Hallyu! The Korean Wave’ marks the first exhibition of its kind to showcase the “colourful and dynamic popular culture” of South Korea. Sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Republic of Korea, the exhibition will explore the makings of the Korean Wave from rising to prominence in the late 1990s to becoming a worldwide phenomenon.

V&A to host exhibition dedicated to Fabergé

Image: courtesy of the V&A; The Alexander Palace Egg, Fabergé. Chief Workmaster Henrik Wigström (1862-1923) - The Moscow Kremlin Museums.

The V&A has also confirmed that it will host the first major exhibition dedicated to legendary Russian goldsmith Fabergé opening in November 2021, running until May 2022.

‘Fabergé in London: Romance to Revolution’ will feature more than 200 objects and focus on the importance of the jewellers London branch and Edwardian high society clientele, as well as tell the story of Carl Fabergé.

Tristram Hunt, V&A director, said in a statement: “The V&A’s ambitious exhibitions programme 2022-2023 is both unashamedly global and beautifully intimate in scale.

“As the world reawakens from a brutal year of narrowed horizons, our V&A South Kensington and V&A Dundee exhibitions mix the historic with the contemporary and academic rigour with pop-culture phenomena to showcase the best of art, design and performance – and help to foster an engaged, reflexive and culturally attuned UK.”