Looking Out

May Culture Round-Up

CarréCouture brings you May's cultural highlights and top places to go for creative stimulation.

by Siska Lyssens

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New York

The month of May means it’s time for the Costume Institute’s annual spring exhibition. Shining a light on the influence of Catholic imagery’s influence on fashion designers’ imagination, this year’s show, ‘Heavenly Bodies’, will be a first for many of the garments there. Papal robes and accessories from the Sistine Chapel sacristy will be on view for the first time outside of the Vatican, alongside monastic wardrobes and 20th century garments from designers like Dolce & Gabbana, Alexander McQueen, and John Galliano for Christian Dior. Located at both The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters, this exhibition promises to be an other-worldly experience. 

From May 10th to October 8th

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London

Some time before the French designer Azzedine Alaïa passed away last November, the Design Museum in London had been working on a retrospective exhibition celebrating the late couturier's work, who was on board as co-curator of the project, along with guest curator Mark Wilson. The legendary Tunisian-born designer, felt ready to look back on 35 years of his innovative vision and creative process. Simply titled 'Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier', the exhibition will feature 60 archive pieces and a collection of specially commissioned architectural works by artists and designers including Tatiana Trouvé and Constantin Grcic. But the focus will remain on Alaïa's precise craftsmanship, incredible attention to detail and the fascination for the feminine form, which he lovingly enveloped in his masterfully cut, sculpted dresses. 

From May 10th to October 7th
Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier @the Design Museum, London


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London

The Fashion and Textile Museum, also in the British capital, is honouring another fashion talent: that of Orla Kiely. Operating on a different plane, Kiely, a Nineties' child, made a name for herself with recognisable patterns during her 20-year career. Inspired by Irish and Scandiavian architecture and mid-century design, Kiely's creative output uses colour, detail, and the geometry of pattern to create garments with an Alice in Wonderland-feel thanks to their distortions of pattern and playful appearance. In the exhibition, this aspect of her work will be emphasized through the use of tiny dolls in replica outfits. ‘Pattern is not a trend for me, to be taken up one minute and abandoned the next when the winds of fashion change. Pattern is in me. It is my life', Kiely has been noted to say. Here, you can step into her life for a brief moment. 

From May 25th to September 23rd

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Groningen

Known for his outrageous staged images, American photographer David LaChapelle is both revered and reviled in the fashion world. For three decades, LaChapelle has produced thought-provoking and groundbreaking imagery that often incorporates religious references with kitch stereotyping, creating portraits, stage and film works of celebrities and culture that have become iconic archetypes of America in the 21st century. The Groninger Museum in the Netherlands dedicates a retrospective to his work of over 70 significant pieces. They show LaChapelle's unique ability to connect themes from western civilization - from classical Renaissance to the future - with contemporary culture. Titled 'Good News for Modern Man', a Biblical reference, this exhibition is an experience of religious proportions.   

From April 21st to October 28th


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