While even the most fastidious of forecasters could not predict with any certainty the ins and outs of the coming year in style – and the clothing we’ll be desiring when the year is out – there remains plenty we do already know about fashion in 2024, whether the usual roll-call of designer moves and debuts, the arrival of a star-studded Apple TV+ drama on Christian Dior and his mid-century milieu, or an intriguing, century-spanning theme for this year’s Met Gala.
On the cusp of a new year, everything to look forward to in fashion in 2024 (so far).
Fashion in 2024: what to look forward to (so far)
A roll-call of designers will make their debuts
Fashion’s merry-go-round continued in 2023 with a slew of designer exits, among them Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, Gabriela Hearst at Chloé, and earlier this month, Matthew M Williams, who said goodbye to Givenchy.
As such – although the latter’s successor is so far unnamed – there will be a roll-call of designers making their debut at major houses in 2024. Watch out for Seán McGirr at Alexander McQueen (the northern Irish designer was formerly head of menswear at JW Anderson), Chemena Kamali at Chloé (she returns to the house where she started her career after working at Saint Laurent), and former Tod’s creative director Walter Chiapponi who will begin his tenure at Blumarine (while at Tod’s, he is succeeded by Matteo Tamburini, most recently of Bottega Veneta).
A number of these debuts – particularly McGirr’s – will likely spark conversation from both those inside and outside of the fashion ranks after the designer’s appointment raised questions about the continued prevalence of white, male creative directors (an Instagram post from a London-based publication on the subject by 1 Granary, posted just after McGirr’s appointment, went viral on the subject). Recruiters at Givenchy will no doubt have this on their minds when selecting Williams’ successor.
The Met Gala theme is all about sleeping beauties
Following 2023’s ‘Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty’ – a blockbuster exhibition on the inimitable German designer’s expansive oeuvre, from Chloé to Chanel – this year’s annual Costume Institute exhibition at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is altogether more abstract. Titled ’Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion’ (May 10 – September 2, 2024), it will comprise 250 garments – spanning designers, centuries and countries – promising a reexamination of ‘masterworks’ from the museum’s collection using cutting-edge technology, from X-ray to AI.
Meanwhile, the sensory elements of the various items – and the eras in which they originated – will be highlighted in immersive ‘activations’ conveying ‘the smells, sounds, textures, and motions of garments that can no longer directly interact with the body’. Loewe will be the year’s fashion sponsor, with Jonathan Anderson’s ghostly Gerhard Richter-inspired dresses from the house’s A/W 2023 show – simple silk shifts printed with the ‘memories’ of previous garments – will feature in the exhibition. On the red carpet, meanwhile – the exhibition is celebrated by the accompanying Met Gala on the first Monday in May – the somewhat indeterminate theme, will no doubt provide some interesting (and outré) looks from the phalanx of celebrities who attend each year.
Christian Dior’s life will be explored in new Apple TV+ show
Dramatisations and biopics of fashion designer’s lives have been somewhat patchy – perhaps the best in recent years, A Phantom Thread, was entirely fictionalised – though an upcoming television series on Apple TV+ has a promising pedigree. Titled ‘The New Look’, the Todd A. Kessler-created show – a director and screenwriter
who worked on The Sopranos and Damages, earning a slew of Emmys – will explore the lives of Christian Dior, Coco Chanel and several other of the era’s designers in the wake of World War II and the occupation of France. The title refers to Dior’s ‘New Look’ – epitomised by his narrow-waisted bar jacket and full, abundant skirt – a riposte to the restraint of the war era and a silhouette which would define mid-century fashion.
An award-winning cast – first revealed this past November – will take on the well-known roster of characters, including Emmy winner Ben Mendelsohn as Christian Dior, Academy Award winner Juliette Binoche as Coco Chanel, Maisie Williams as Catherine Dior, the couturier’s sister, and John Malkovich as French couturier Lucien Lelong. Meanwhile, an ‘immersive and contemporary’ soundtrack is created by Grammy Award winner Jack Antonoff, the producer behind albums by Lana del Rey, Taylor Swift and Lorde.
So far, so intriguing – the series will premiere on February 14, 2024 on Apple TV+, just in time for fashion month (expect it to be a front-row talking point).
At Pitti, two guest designers who explore queer life and class
Though the centrepiece of Pitti Uomo is the vast exhibition centre in the 14th-century Fortezza da Basso – which sees brands from around the world pitch up to display their latest collections – it is the Florentine menswear fair’s ‘guest designers’ which provide its most intriguing moments. Previous editions have hosted shows from the likes of Raf Simons, Martine Rose, Grace Wales Bonner, Jonathan Anderson and Craig Green alongside fashion houses Givenchy, Jil Sander and Fendi.
This season, two young designers – from Italy and the UK respectively – will show their latest collections as guests of the fair. The first is Bologna-born Luca Magliano, whose eponymous label Magliano has won plaudits – including the LVMH Prize’s Karl Lagerfeld Prize – for its skewed, irreverent plays on classic Italian dress codes, deeply rooted in his beloved hometown where he continues to live and work (’provincia’ is the word he uses to describe his fascination with regional eccentricities). Bologna’s history of protest – particularly among the large student and working-class community – also informs his liberatory collections, as does growing up within the city’s queer and subcultural scenes. He will show at the Nelson Mandela Forum, a stadium to the east of Florence.
Steven Stokey-Daley – founder of S.S. Daley – also explores class and sexuality through theatrical collections which are informed by his observations of the British upper classes, both real and imagined (while at university in London, his campus would look out on the playing fields of public school Harrow; Stokey-Daley describes himself as ‘a working class boy’). Collections have riffed on the upstairs-downstairs archetype in Britsh culture and literature, with figures like Virginia Woolf, Vita Sackville West and Evelyn Waugh inspiring his collections. He has chosen the perennial Florence landmark Palazzo Vecchio to show his A/W 2024 collection.
Two UK exhibitions will celebrate the greats of British fashion
A duo of exhibitions, opening in March and June respectively, will tell the stories behind some of Britain’s most widely-known fashion names. The first, which takes place at the historic Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, is titled ‘Icons of British Style’ (23 March – 30 June, 2024) and will see garments from a wide-ranging array of designers and brands – from Vivienne Westwood and Stephen Jones to Stella McCartney and Barbour – alongside an accompanying array of archival materials, drawings, photography and pattern pieces. Though the draw is undoubtedly the surroundings, with the exhibition winding through Blenheim’s great hall and through the palace, which has a longtime link to fashion – in 1954, Christian Dior hosted a couture show in the home for style-conscious members of Britain’s aristocracy (in a nod to its heritage, Jones’ millinery for Dior will feature).
The second, at London’s V&A Museum, takes Naomi Campbell as its subject, promising an unprecedented glimpse into the British supermodel’s life and wardrobe as she celebrates four decades in fashion (born in Lambeth, she was discovered by Pennington Models aged just 15). Titled ‘Naomi’ (22 June – 6 April 2025), the no-doubt high-octane exhibition will be a glamourous walk-through her career, promising cameos from the seminal designers who shaped her as a model – among them Gianni Versace, Azzedine Alaïa and Yves Saint Laurent, whose clothes will also feature in the exhibition. A vast array of photography, curated by former British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, will appear alongside, while footage of her legendary runway walk, will no doubt feature.
While in Milan, a seminal fashion store will be reborn
10 Corso Como is one of Milan’s – indeed, fashion’s – most well-known addresses, the site of Carla Sozzani’s 1980-founded store-café-cum-hotel-cum-cultural outpost of the same name. In 2024, the store will get a makeover of sorts in a project titled ‘Rethinking 10 Corso Como’ which promises to create a ‘wunderkammer’ or cabinet of curiosities in the space, alongside a thriving program of events (these will include exhibitions curated by art critic Alessandro Rabottini and fashion lecturer and curator Alessio de’ Navasques).
The heavy architectural lifting, meanwhile, will be done by Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli – a former OMA partner and president of the international jury at the 2023 Venice Biennale Architecture Exhibition – who will renovate the space through a series of ‘micro-interactions’ which will allow visits to seamlessly transition between the various zones. The work began in November 2023, with the new 10 Corso Como being revealed in stages beginning in spring 2024. Watch this space.