Our new series, Reasons to Travel Now, highlights the news, events, and openings that have us scoping out plane tickets each day. Today, we reveal why all eyes are on England — and it has nothing to do with the royal wedding.
Atrium of the Design Museum in London
Credit: Hufton + Crow/Courtesy of The Design Museum

For fashion and design lovers, a quartet of style-minded exhibitions make this spring the perfect time to explore London.

At the Design Museum, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier” (May 10 – October 7) honors the Tunis-born, Paris-based “king of cling,” whose form-fitting silhouettes helped define 1980s fashion. Developed by Alaïa himself before his death last November, the retrospective showcases 60 of his garments, in addition to works commissioned from a few of his favorite collaborators, such as Tatiana Trouvé and Kris Ruhs.

The Fashion & Textile Museum, meanwhile, is presenting “Orla Kiely: A Life in Pattern” (May 25 – September 23), the first U.K. show dedicated to the Irish designer. The exhibit will feature more than 150 pieces of clothing, textiles, and housewares from the company archives, including the original sketches for Kiely’s ubiquitous Stem graphic, which has been splashed across mugs, scarves, and even cars.

At the Victoria & Albert Museum, two sartorially centered shows are on view, starting with “Fashioned from Nature” (April 21 – January 27, 2019), a look at the clothing industry’s relationship with the natural world. Displays range from a feather cape to a dress made from a leather-like material produced with winemaking by-products.

Items from the Victoria & Albert Museum, London's
Credit: Courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Starting next month, you’ll also be able to catch “Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up” (June 16 – November 4), which spotlights the artist’s vibrant wardrobe and a collection of artifacts — cosmetics, prosthetics, photographs — discovered at her home and studio in Mexico City.