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IRL: The Best Exhibitions to Visit This Year

From Alice in Wonderland to Andy Warhol, Ruby Naldrett shares the best upcoming exhibitions to visit in London this year.

Andy Warhol & Edie Segwick (1965) © Burt Glinn via Instagram

Although content is so readily available online, there's something special about going to an exhibition and seeing an exhibit up close. You can't beat coming face to face with a painting you've only ever read about or a dress you've only ever seen on vintage inspiration Instagram accounts. Whether you're into art, vintage fashion or maybe you're more of a handbag kind of person... there's truly something for everyone this year.

Andy Warhol

Marilyn Monroe (1967) © Andy Warhol

Arguably the most iconic artist of the 20th century, Andy Warhol’s work is going on display at the Tate Modern for the first time in almost 20 years. Classic works are combined with pieces never seen before in the UK, to create a retrospective of Warhol’s work that everybody is going to be talking about. From his celebrity portraits to that Campbell Soup print, this is a chance to see artwork that defined a whole movement.

12 March - 6 September 2020, Tate Modern

Beautiful People: The Boutique in 1960s Counter Culture

Mick Jagger & Marianne Faithfull wearing Ossie Clark (1969) © PA Images via Instagram

London in the 1960s was a time of radical change and revolution, and this was especially true when it came to fashion. Gone were the days of restrictive pencil skirts, and in came the mini skirt. Boutiques lined the streets of the capital, with brands such as Biba, Ossie Clark and Granny Takes a Trip exploding into the fashion sphere. This retrospective at the Fashion & Textile Museum looks back at the Chelsea boutiques that sparked a fashion movement. Iconic pieces, as worn by The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones (to name but a few), will be on display.

3 July - 4 October 2020, Fashion & Textile Museum

Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things

Marlène Dietrich (1932) © Cecil Beaton

During his career, world-renowned photographer Cecil Beaton photographed everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Jane Birkin. However, it is the beginning of his decade-spanning career that becomes the focus of a National Portrait Gallery exhibition. Bright Young Things puts focus on the 1920s and '30s through the eyes of Beaton, with his images exploring all corners of culture. From high-society parties to avant-garde artists, this retrospective offers a front-row seat to the world of Beaton.

12 March - 7 June 2020, National Portrait Gallery

Bags: Inside Out

Grace Kelly & her Hermès bag (1956) © Life Magazine via Instagram

From Grace Kelly and her Hermès to Jane Birkin and her basket, bags have defined fashion movements through history. Who can forget the tiny styles of the early ‘00s and the oversized tote bags of the following decade? See iconic pieces such as the Fendi Baguette immortalised by Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and The City, and the Lady Dior named in honour of the late Princess Diana. With exhibits dating back to the 16th century, Bags: Inside Out offers an insight into how the humble handbag came to be fashion’s ultimate accessory.

25 April 2020 - 31 January 2021 , Victoria & Albert Museum

Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser

The Mad Hatter's Tea Party (1890) © John Tenniel

Since its publication in 1865, Lewis Carroll’s tale about a young girl who falls into Wonderland has become a worldwide phenomenon. Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser will put a spotlight on the treasured children’s classic, and explore how it has influenced everything from fashion to art throughout its 155-year history. An immersive and theatrical experience, this exhibition promises to take you to Wonderland.

27 June 2020 - 10 January 2021 , Victoria & Albert Museum

Words by Ruby Naldrett

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