Victoria and Albert Museum celebrate the power of the DIVA 

When you’re invited to the exclusive prelaunch of such an extraordinary exposition it’s not something you decline. Think spectacular costumes worn by Maria Callas, CHER, Elton John, Janelle Monae, and Marilyn Monroe that are on display in a major exhibition: DIVA

DIVA is the first exhibition of its kind to celebrate the extraordinary power and creativity of iconic performers who have made their voices heard from the 19th century to today. Showcasing over 250 objects drawn from the V&A collection and loans worldwide, spanning fashion, photography, design, costumes, music, and live performance.

The exposition celebrates the powerful and personal stories of creativity, ambition, and resilience of some of the best-known divas, from opera goddesses and silent movie stars to sirens of the big screen and today’s global megastars. The exhibition also looks at how the performer has intersected with society and driven change through their platform and profile for social good and political change, including global civil rights and feminism.

Elton John Louis XIV-inspired look

Over 60 looks will go on display, many rare or on display for the first time, including a stage ensemble worn by Maria Callas as Norma in the Covent Garden Opera Company production of ‘Norma’ (1952); the fringed black dress worn by Marilyn Monroe as Sugar “Kane” Kowalczyk in ‘Some Like it Hot’ (1959); one of the only surviving dress worn by Clara Bow, rarely seen outside of the U.S; iconic costumes designed by the fashion designer for the stars Bob Mackie, including looks worn by Tina Turner, P!nk and CHER; a Louis XIV inspired look, with towering powdered wig and train worn by Elton John for his 50th birthday celebration, designed by Sandy Powell.

You will also find Shirley Bassey’s couture pink gown designed by Julien MacDonald including diamanté-studded Wellington boots, worn on stage at Glastonbury (2007); and Janelle Monae’s ‘vulva pants’ designed by Duran Lantink for the music video ‘Pynk’ (2018) and so much more.

If you are planning a trip to London I can highly recommend a visit to the exhibition.

Launching on the 24 June 2023 – 7 April 2024 (Gallery 40)
Supported by NET-A-PORTER


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