Museum shows celebrate fashion designers and design

Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs show at Musée des Arts Decoratifs
An exhibition looking at the work of Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs is on display at the Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Paris through Sept. 16.
(The Musée des Arts Decoratifs)
Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic

Fashion exhibitions at museums, like the “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” show that set attendance records at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2011, are more popular than ever. Here is a selection of what’s on now and what’s coming soon, in the U.S. and abroad.

Diana Vreeland After Diana Vreeland | Dedicated to the style and passion of the late fashion icon, editor, traveler and Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute curator. Vreeland also worked as a special consultant to the museum from 1972 to the time of her death in 1989, setting the international standard for costume exhibitions. This show includes pieces of her personal wardrobe by Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent and Givenchy; theatrical costumes; and art objects. At the opening this month, her grandson Alexander Vreeland explained to Women’s Wear Daily that Diana Vreeland “made the relation between fashion and art possible. This is standing on her shoulders. For important fashion to be seen in a museum, she forged that territory. And it’s often the most lucrative part of a museum.”

Through June 25 at the Fortuny Palace, Venice, Italy,

Charles James: Genius Deconstructed | Celebrates one of the few American designers to have worked in the tradition of the French haute couture, whose work continues to inspire half a century after his death. It features 15 of his most memorable looks.


Through April 16 at the Chicago History Museum,

The Total Look: The creative collaboration between Rudi Gernreich, Peggy Moffitt and William Claxton | Explores the collaboration between Los Angeles-based designer Gernreich, an innovator before his time; his muse Moffitt and her late husband Claxton, who photographed many of Gernreich’s designs, bringing them to life. Includes dozens of Gernreich’s body-conscious looks, as well as film footage and photographs.

Through May 20 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Pacific Design Center, Los Angeles,

The Sea | The influence of the romance of the sea on fashion design. Featuring clothing and accessories from the 19th century to the present, from fashion houses including Chanel, Emilio Pucci and Emanuel Ungaro.


Through July 15 at the Phoenix Art Museum,

Louis Vuitton-Marc Jacobs | The story of Vuitton, who founded his trunk business in 1854, with a “specialty in the packing of fashions,” and Jacobs, artistic director since 1997, who helped design and market Louis Vuitton, turning it into a global fashion powerhouse.

Through Sept. 16 at Les Arts Decoratifs in Paris,

Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective | Includes more than 200 garments tracing the arc of Saint Laurent’s career, from his first days at Dior in 1958 to his final runway collection in 2002. The show is organized with the Fondation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent; this is its only U.S. stop.

March 25 to July 8 at the Denver Art Museum,

Herb Ritts: L.A. Style | Retrospective of the late photographer, whose aesthetic emerged in the 1980s, including images of fashion models and his anti-glamour style portraits of celebrities, many of which were recently acquired from the Herb Ritts Foundation.

April 3 to Aug. 26 at the Getty Center in Los Angeles,

Christian Louboutin | Showcases the shoe maestro’s design process and some of his finest work, from sneakers to stilettos, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of his brand.


May 1 to July 9 at the Design Museum London,

An American Legacy: Norell, Blass, Halston & Sprouse | Highlights the achievements of Norman Norell, Bill Blass, Roy Halston Frowick and Stephen Sprouse, all of whom hailed from Indiana, and how they contributed to the definition of American style over 50 years of fashion history.

May 4 to Jan. 27, 2013, Indianapolis Museum of Art,

Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations | Explores affinities between Italian designers Elsa Schiaparelli, who died in 1973, and Miuccia Prada, who entered her family business in 1978, with “conversations” orchestrated between them to suggest new interpretations of their work and an emphasis on their shared fascination with the Surrealist art movement.

May 10 to Aug. 19 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York,