The “first of its kind” exhibition that will explore Naomi Campbell’s “unequaled” 40-year career has been announced by the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).
The V&A Announces Exhibition, titled Naomi, will “draw upon” the London-born model’s “own extensive wardrobe of haute couture” and “notable ready-to-wear ensembles” to be featured alongside loans from designer archives, according to the museum.
This is the first time a model will be the subject by V&A Announces Exhibition and Campbell’s personal engagement adds to the uniqueness of the event. “We are very much working with her to foreground her voice and her perspective,” Stanfill explains. “I think what has come through those conversations is that this isn’t really a retrospective, as although it’s looking back across 40 years, she is still so active—she’s in ad campaigns, a coveted presence on the front row, and is regularly walking on the runway.”
Around 100 outfits from her four decades in the industry will be on display, including pieces by Alexander McQueen, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Tunisian designer Azzedine Alaia, Gianni and Donatella Versace, Vivienne Westwood, and others.
Campbell, 53, has a long history with British fashion house McQueen, having walked in runway shows when original creative director Alexander ‘Lee’ McQueen was still alive (including the 2004 Black show revisiting his greatest hits) and recently closing Sarah Burton’s final show as creative director at Paris Fashion Week.
She was a regular on the Vivienne Westwood runway, notably falling at the autumn/winter 1993 show while wearing vertiginous purple platform shoes.
She was recognized as one of “Gianni’s girls” as one of the original “supers” referring to the late designer Gianni Versace.
On the autumn/winter 1991 Versace catwalk, Campbell walked together with Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, and Linda Evangelista, lip-syncing to George Michael’s song Freedom! for which they also appeared in the music video.
The V&A stated that Campbell’s close friend and departing British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful’s fashion photography project will also be displayed “prominently” at the exhibition.
Campbell was photographed by American photographer Steven Meisel for the March edition cover of British Vogue with her baby daughter last year.
She stated: “I’m honored to be asked by the V&A to share my life in clothes with the world.”
The late Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa, was credited with sparking her interest in charity, and Mr Mandela and other mentors throughout her life will be honored as part of the Naomi show.
“Naomi Campbell’s extraordinary career intersects with the best of high fashion,” said Sonnet Stanfill, senior curator of fashion at the V&A.
“She is recognized worldwide as a supermodel, activist, philanthropist, and creative collaborator, making her one of the most prolific and influential figures in contemporary culture.” Furthermore, Sonnet Stanfill Said, “We’re delighted to be working with Naomi Campbell on this project and to celebrate her career with our audiences.”
Campbell’s modeling career took off when she was 15 years old, and she is now regarded as one of the world’s most famous models, having appeared on the cover of French Vogue for the first time in 1988.
Naomi will run from June 2024 to April 2025, with ticket information to be published later.
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