A Glossy Guide To London Fashion Exhibitions

No trip to LONDON is complete without visiting a fabulous FASHION EXHIBITION, PENNY McCORMICK selects the top two not to miss this year …

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What to see: I admit to following @princess.diana.forever on Instagram (135k followers) and in this the 20th year after her death, be prepared for some poignant memorials. Diana: Her Fashion Story traces her style evolution from demure romantic looks to the chic Catherine Walker outfits that made up Diana’s working wardrobe of the 1990s. Highlights include the Victor Edelstein gown worn to the White House when Diana danced with John Travolta, while fashion sketches by her favourite designers explore their close relationships. The exhibition at Kensington Palace is complemented by a special garden inspired by the Princess’s life, image and style – with a palette of tulips, narcissii and a carpet of forget-me-nots. Synonymous with Diana’s short, slicked-back hairstyle is Sam McKnight, who in addition to travelling with the Princess, has chalked up an impressive 190 Vogue covers. Do earmark the V&A’s blockbuster exhibition Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion opening on May 27. The exhibition marks the centenary of the opening of Balenciaga’s first fashion house in San Sebastian. It will feature iconic pieces and trace the courturier’s influence on fashion designers from Molly Goddard to Simone Rocha and JW Anderson among others.

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Where to stay: Flirty florals, savvy colours, French windows and well-groomed rooms all combine in the exquisite townhouse that is NUMBER 16 (12 Sumner Place, Kensington; www.firmdalehotels.com). Co-owned by Kit Kemp, it’s an ideal base for culture and shopping and with only 42 rooms and exquisite décor it feels more like the home of a flamboyant relation than an actual hotel. Nearby are the fashionable eateries of The Ivy Chelsea Garden (195-197 King’s Road) and Daphne’s (112 Draycott Avenue). Check out Ralph Lauren‘s new café on Regent Street. As an alternative flop and drop, THE LIMETREE HOTEL (135 Ebury Street; www.limetreehotel.co.uk) is that oxymoron; a lovely, budget-friendly B&B in Belgravia perfectly poised for some chic shopping in neighbouring Elizabeth Street. Invest in some jeans by guru Donna Ida, treat yourself to Jo Loves Red Truffle 21 and then book Santini (29 Ebury Street; www.santinirestaurant.com) for supper.

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What to wear: Simone Rocha’s SS17 collection.

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What to read: Defiance: The Life and Choices of Lady Barnard by Stephen Taylor (Faber & Faber) recounts the love life of the Georgian socialite two centuries ahead of her time.

PENNY McCORMICK

This article appeared in a previous issue, for more features like this don’t miss our next issue, out Thursday April 6.

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