Runway shows are delightful to watch, but they’re completely ephemeral — you only get to see the garments for a couple of minutes. That’s why we have a lot of love for fashion exhibitions, where you can stare at beautifully designed clothes for as long as you like, in some of the world’s leading arts museums. These shows offer fashion history and knowledge in an immersive setting, making them must-see cultural events. Here are four of the year’s most anticipated fashion exhibitions taking place around the world — the ones worth packing your bags and buying a plane ticket to see in person.

Balenciaga: Working in Black

Fashion Exhibition - Balenciaga

Where: Musée Bourdelle, Paris, France
When: 8 March–16 July 2017

One of three Spanish-themed fashion exhibitions planned by Musée Bourdelle this year, Balenciaga: Working in Black will showcase Cristobal Balenciaga’s refined taste and talent for clean, sculptural silhouettes and the colour black. More than 100 items from the museum’s collection and the Balenciaga archive will be on display, including pieces that feature lace, embroidery, silk and velvet — all shown in black to highlight the use of materials, fabrics, light and shapes. bourdelle.paris.fr

House Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth

fashion exhibition - gucci 2

Where: Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, United Kingdom
When:
25 March–22 October 2017

Following Gucci’s announcement of a three-year partnership with Chatsworth last June, the English country house — home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire since the 15th century — is set to play host to a style exhibition this spring. Curated by Vogue‘s international editor-at-large, Hamish Bowles, the exhibition will look at the stories of Chatsworth’s leading female figures across the ages, with a comprehensive exploration of their clothing and accessories, including costumes from the Devonshire House Fancy Dress Ball in 1897, the family’s coronation robes and Stella Tennant’s wedding dress by Helmut Lang. Couture designs by Jean-Phillipe Worth, Christian Dior and Maison Margiela, as well as items from Gucci, Erdem and more are amongst the other highlights. chatsworth.org

Margiela: The Hermès Years

Margiela

Where: Mode Museum, Antwerp, Belgium
When:
31 March–27 August 2017

For the first time, Antwerp’s MoMu will focus on Martin Margiela’s work during his six-year tenure as artistic director at Hermès. Already considered one of the most influential avant-garde designers at the time, the Belgium designer’s love for conceptual aesthetics appeared to be a daring choice for the traditional fashion house. However, Margiela was able to distill his design, tailoring and his vision of modern-day luxury into sleek and innovative designs that continue to influence the work of many contemporary designers today. momu.be

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between

MET

Where: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA
When: 5 May–4 September 2017

One of the most anticipated annual events in the fashion industry, the New York Costume Institute’s spring exhibition will pay tribute to the founder of Japanese label Comme des Garçons, Rei Kawakubo, who is known for her avant-garde designs that challenge conventional notions of beauty and style. This will mark the second time the Metropolitan Museum of Art has honoured a living designer; the last time this happened was for Yves Saint Laurent in 1983. The exhibition will feature over 120 pieces of Kawakubo’s work, from her first Paris runway show in 1981 to her latest collection. metmuseum.org

Cindie Chan
Style Editor
Fashion blogger turned editor, Cindie has spent over seven years covering all things stylish in the digital world. When she’s not busy poring over the latest covetable releases or attending the most talked-about fashion events in town, you’ll find her enjoying some precious downtime with her newborn son and sweet dog Rosy.