London’s V&A has announced a new landmark exhibition charting the 40 year career of Naomi Campbell, the Streatham-born supermodel, opening June 22, 2024.
This will be the first time the museum has honoured a model with a career retrospective; its fashion exhibitions are more usually centred on a designer or period in time, it has also previously held shows celebrating David Bowie and Kylie Minogue.
NAOMI will document Campbell’s extraordinary rise through the fashion industry, from being discovered in Covent Garden aged 15 to three years later becoming the first Black model on the cover of Paris Vogue, in 1988. The exhibition will feature pieces from Campbell’s personal wardrobe archive of haute couture and ready to wear as well as around 100 looks worn by Campbell from a who’s who of fashion including Alexander McQueen, Azzedine Alaïa, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Gianni and Donatella Versace, Jean Paul Gaultier, Valentino, Virgil Abloh, Vivienne Westwood and Yves Saint Laurent alongside many more.
Within the V&A’s collections are the blue moc-croc 30.5cm high platforms Campbell elegantly tumbled from in a Vivienne Westwood show in 1993, which had previously been on long-standing display.
Photography featuring some of Campbell’s most notable shoots from industry titans Nick Knight, Steven Meisel and Tim Walker will feature in an installation curated by Edward Enninful OBE, British Vogue’s exiting Editor-in-chief.
The news completes a significant few weeks for Campbell, 53, who has appeared in much anticipated The Super Models documentary on Apple TV, alongside her ‘90s counterparts Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington. The quartet featured on the September covers of both American and British Vogue, and have been star additions to the catwalks of the just-closed fashion month season. Campbell remains a major runway booking, in the past two weeks she has walked for Dolce & Gabbana, Coperni, newcomer Torishéju as well as closing Sarah Burton’s final Alexander McQueen show.
Sonnet Stanfill, senior curator, Fashion, V&A, says: “Naomi Campbell’s extraordinary career intersects with the best of high fashion. She is recognised worldwide as a supermodel, activist, philanthropist, and creative collaborator, making her one of the most prolific and influential figures in contemporary culture. We’re delighted to be working with Naomi Campbell on this project and to celebrate her career with our audiences.”
The exhibition will also showcase Campbell’s advocacy work including The Diversity Coalition, with Iman and Bethann Hardison, which pushes for catwalk diversity; alongside her constant support for rising talent including Lagos’ Arise Fashion Week and Campbell’s EMERGE initiative which supports young creatives from developing communities across the world.
For the V&A to select Campbell as the first model to be offered such a moment in the museum underscores the extraordinary impact Campbell has made not only on the fashion industry but as a broader cultural icon. Commenting on the exhibition, Campbell said, “I’m honoured to be asked by the V&A to share my life in clothes with the world.”