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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Victoria Moss

7 stylish things for 2024: from Naomi Campbell at the V&A to London's first Biba exhibition

Get set for a fashion-packed year, 2024 is going to be bursting with endless stylish moments. Here's our pick of the key cultural events to look out for.

Start marking up your diary now...

The original Biba 

A model wearing wide-legged trousers, a striped tube top and a turban-style hat at the Biba boutique in London, UK, 6th September 1973 (Getty Images)

In March, Bermondsey’s Fashion & Textile Museum will open its new exhibition The Biba Story, 1964-1975. This will be the first ever London retrospective of the brand, charting the rise of Bárbara Hulanicki’s Biba which paved the way for high street fashion as we know it. From its mail order origins to her four London shops — including the seven story lifestyle emporium Big Biba on Kensington High Street, which sold everything from dog food to knickers, Biba armed a new generation with affordable, trend-driven style. 

The exhibition is curated by Martin Pel, who was also behind the 2013 exhibition, Biba and Beyond: Barbara Hulanicki, at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, with the collaboration of 87-year-old Hulanicki herself. 

On display will be over 40 outfits charting the evolution of Hulanicki’s work over a decade in fashion, including a leopard skin jacket designed for Twiggy (1973) a purple jumbo cord coat with faux fur cuffs and collar (1968) and a black chiffon floor length dress (1970). Alongside this will be original photography (when Biba was shunned by Vogue for being too cheap, Hulanicki commissioned Helmut Newton and Sara Moon to shoot her own fashion forward catalogues), film and other ephemera from Hulanicki’s personal archive including correspondence, press and marketing material.  “It isn’t just selling dresses, it’s a whole way of life,” she said of the Biba world in 1970. 

Haute fashion nostalgia

Juliette Binoche as Coco Chanel in AppleTV+ The New Look (Apple TV+)

If all the talk of TikTok core-bore trends brings you down, then you will find welcome respite in telly’s new post-WW2 fashion world mood. First up is Disney+’s Cristóbal Balenciaga, debuting on January 19, which dramatises the “master” of Haute Couture’s thirty year reign of fastidious style innovation in Paris.

Then, once that’s whet your appetite, in February settle in for Apple TV+’s full scale examining of Balenciaga and his contemporaries — including Coco Chanel (played by Juliette Binoche), Pierre Balmain and Christian Dior as they forge their way through war-torn Paris. Fashion nerds assemble, this really is our Roman empire. 

Major Naomi 

Naomi Campbell announces her landmark V&A exhibition (Marc Bahler)

In June, the V&A will present its first ever supermodel retrospective on Streatham’s finest: the one and only Naomi Campbell. The exhibition will document Campbell’s extraordinary rise through the fashion industry, from being discovered in Covent Garden aged 15 to three years later becoming the first Black model on the cover of Paris Vogue, in 1988. There will be pieces from Campbell’s personal wardrobe archive of haute couture and ready to wear as well as around 100 looks worn by Campbell from a who’s who of fashion including Alexander McQueen, Azzedine Alaïa, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Gianni and Donatella Versace, Jean Paul Gaultier, Valentino, Virgil Abloh, Vivienne Westwood and Yves Saint Laurent, alongside many more.

Industry moves

The industry loves nothing more than creative director musical chairs gossip. All eyes and ears are currently focused on Parisian stalwart Givenchy, which Matthew Williams exited last year after a succinct three year tenure. Names doing the rounds for his replacement include everyone from Sarah Burton and Alessandro Michele to Simon Porte Jacquemus. Meanwhile, Seán McGirr, whose appointment was met with some raised eyebrows from the industry, will present his first Alexander McQueen collection; while in Paris, Chemena Kamali will step up to show her first collection as creative director for Chloé — having previously worked at the house under both Pheobe Philo and Clare Waight Keller, as well as more recently serving as design director to Anthony Vaccarello at Saint Laurent, Kamali is an exciting prospect.

London Fashion Week turns 40

Rachel Weisz at the Burberry show in Highbury Fields, September 2023 (Dave Benett)

London Fashion week, the enfant terrible of the international fashion show circuit, comes of age this February as it marks 40 years of provocative, agenda setting design. To christen its four decades of positioning London as the home of thrilling style talent, it will present a mixed schedule of menswear and womenswear designers including the mighty Burberry, Erdem, JW Anderson, Roksanda and Simone Rocha. Sit tight for further — secret for now — details of the city-wide celebrations, but one note of progress: for the first time fur will be banned from the schedule. 

 The devil can sing? 

Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada you say? On stage? With a score by none other than the Versace-clad statement-glasses piano man Elton John? Based on the 2006 film starring Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt and Anne Hathaway (and novel by Anna Wintour’s ex-assistant Lauren Weisberger) comes a brand new musical (musical!) production to be unveiled in October at the Dominion Theatre. Will it be awful? Will it be genius? We’re slightly hoping for somewhere in between if we’re brutally honest. Casting is still to be announced but tickets, you should be delighted to know, are available now. 

John Galliano’s highs and lows

High & Low: John Galliano (High & Low: John Galliano)

Since his 2011 fall from grace when he was fired from Dior and his own eponymous label following a filmed anti-Semitic rant in a Parisian bar, John Galliano has been on a soul searching mission back to fashion favour. His position as creative director for Maison Margiela (since 2014) cushioned him back into the heart of the industry, but he has remained largely, quietly under the radar. Until now. In High & Low, his life is investigated by award winning director Kevin Macdonald. The unflinching documentary pulls no punches as it covers his childhood, career, addiction struggle and of course, his grand fashion cancellation and somewhat redemption. Make up your own mind in March when it’s released. 

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