This week, a great feat occurred at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. No, not the annual Met Gala. The famed Costume Institute at the museum will now become the Anna Wintour Costume Center. Christening the renovated space, named after Wintour—who is the artistic director of Condé Nast, editor-in-chief of Vogue, and has been a trustee of the Met since January 1999—Thomas P. Campbell, director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, remarked:

“Through her bold leadership at the helm of the annual Costume Institute Benefit plus other significant fundraising, Anna has helped us realize a place where The Costume Institute can move into the future with the latest technology for creating immersive, cutting-edge exhibitions, developing new techniques for object conservation, and designing a customized collection storage facility. Her interest in our mission has allowed us to rise to new levels of growth and prominence. She is an exceptional benefactor, advocate, and friend.”

It’s an incredible accomplishment for Wintour, an iconic woman in fashion who is a star even without this new honor. However, the institute, arguably the premier venue for both the celebration and the preservation of fashion as an art form, can improve its representation of solo exhibitions focused on groundbreaking women designers. With the exception of Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations (2012), the Costume Institute has largely focused its solo exhibitions on a succession of male designers in the  past  seven years: Charles James: Beyond Fashion (2014), Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (2011); Paul Poiret: King of Fashion (2007).

In the meantime, while we wait on the Met to add to its roster more women designers, we’ve found these incredible global exhibitions honoring women in fashion as well as the contributions women have made to the field.  Here’s how the museums describe their shows:


The Great War: Women and Fashion in a World at War

July 24, 2014 to July 5, 2015

Stager and Blum Galleries, Kent State University Museum, Kent, Ohio

Journal-des-dames-1914_1From 1914 until 1918, the world faced war on a scale never before seen. In addition to the loss of millions of lives, this period saw tremendous technological, social, and political upheavals. These profound changes led to a transformation in the way women dressed. Increasingly called to work and contribute in numerous ways to the war effort, women made great strides towards equality. Gone were the cumbersome petticoats and rigid whalebone corsets, and in their place were slim, clean lines and serviceable suits. This exhibition explores the changes in women’s lives during the first quarter of the twentieth century through a careful look at how they dressed.



Wedding Dresses 1775-2014

May 3, 2014 to 15 March 15, 2015

Victoria and Albert Museum of Art and Design, London, UK

Lead-wedding-dress1000This exhibition will trace the development of the fashionable white wedding dress and its treatment by key fashion designers such as Charles Frederick Worth, Norman Hartnell, Charles James, John Galliano, Christian Lacroix, Vivienne Westwood, and Vera Wang offering a panorama of fashion over the last two centuries. On display will be the most romantic, glamorous, and extravagant wedding dresses from the V & A’s superb collection. Included will be some important new acquisitions, as well as loans, including the purple dress worn by Dita Von Teese for her marriage to Marilyn Manson and the outfits worn by Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale on their wedding day. The exhibition will highlight the histories of the dresses, revealing fascinating details about the lives of the wearers and offering an intimate insight into their circumstances and fashion choices.


Hats Between Art And Extravaganza

through June 8, 2014

Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy

This is a monographic show devoted to the hat. The museum possesses collections—deriving from the generosity of numerous donors—that amount to over 1,000 exemplars, normally stored in the repositories and only a part of which is destined to the exhibition. The exhibition includes more than 1,000  hats by international designers, including Christian Dior, Givenchy, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and more.




Wrap 40: the Journey of a Dress

through May 1

Wilshire May Company Building, Los Angeles, CA

The Wrap DressAfter the Little Black Dress, perhaps the next best fashion invention is the Wrap Dress, made iconic by designer Diane Von Furstenberg. Created in 1974, the Wrap Dress came to symbolize power and independence for an entire generation of women. Serendipitously, the Wrap Dress turns 40 this year—fitting perfectly with Women’s Voices’ mission of redefining life after 40. To mark the milestone, the exhibition Wrap 40: the Journey of a Dress is currently on view in Los Angeles.






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