Design Museum to celebrate rebellious London fashion, including Björk’s infamous swan dress

‘Rebel: 30 Years of London Fashion’ at the Design Museum, sponsored by Alexander McQueen, will celebrate the trailblazing designers who have lived and worked in the British capital

Bjork swan dress part of new design museum exhibition
Björk at the 73rd Academy Awards in 2001, wearing swan dress by KTZ Newgen designer Marjan Pejoski
(Image credit: Photography by Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images, courtesy of the Design Museum)

Announced this morning, ‘Rebel: 30 Years of London Fashion’ (September 16 2023 – 11 February 2024) at the Design Museum will celebrate three decades of trailblazing designers who have lived and worked in the British capital. 

Sponsored by Alexander McQueen and created in association with the British Fashion Council’s Newgen incubator scheme – which celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2023 – the display of more than 100 looks will feature boundary-pushing works from designers and brands including Christopher Kane, Craig Green, JW Anderson, Meadham Kirchhoff, Matty Bovan and Wales Bonner.

Each is defined, say the organisers, by a ‘fearless’ approach to design, the exhibition itself offering ‘an unprecedented look at how careers in fashion are forged, and the multitude of opportunities London’s fashion scene offers young creatives’. Several of the items have not been on display since their presentation.

‘Rebel: 30 Years of London Fashion’ at the Design Museum

Matty Bovan backstage runway show

Matty Bovan S/S 2019

(Image credit: Photography by Rebecca Maynes, courtesy of the Design Museum)

Exhibition highlights include Björk’s infamous ‘swan’ dress, designed by Central Saint Martins alum Marjan Pejoski and worn by the musician to the 2001 Oscars (the look even saw her ’lay an egg’ on the red carpet). The dress will be on display in the UK for the first time, alongside other memorable pop culture fashion moments – like a ruffled blue Molly Goddard dress worn by Rihanna in 2017. Both Pejowski and Goddard were part of Newgen, which provides funds and mentorship for emerging British designers.

‘It is impossible to underestimate the influence London has on Britain’s fashion talent a city that produces wave-after-wave of young designers that value originality, wearing what you believe in, and tackling social issues to make a better world,’ says guest curator Sarah Mower MBE, the BFC Ambassador for Emerging Talent, who will work alongside Design Museum senior curator Rebecca Lewin on the display.

‘This landmark exhibition will take visitors on a remarkable journey through London’s creative landscape, and to all the locations where all this fashion magic happens,’ she continues. ‘The city’s art schools, clubs and catwalks will be brought to life like never before.’

As such, the exhibition is divided into various sections:  ‘Art School’, showing objects relating to London’s art educational institutions, ‘Backstage Pass’, a look behind-the-scenes of a runway show, and ‘Runway’, which promises a front-row seat to some of the past three decades’ most memorable runway shows.

Wales Bonner runway show

Wales Bonner S/S 2017

(Image credit: Courtesy of Wales Bonner)

‘We are delighted to be collaborating with the British Fashion Council to showcase and explore the youthful energy, creative vision and rebellious spirit that is so central to their Newgen programme,’ adds Tim Marlow, Design Museum director and CEO.

‘Visitors are going to be stunned by many of the instantly recognisable fashion items on show, but we hope they’ll also be captivated by the breadth, depth, diversity and world-class talent that has emerged from the London fashion scene in the past three decades.’

‘Rebel: 30 Years of London Fashion’ will coincide with the S/S 2024 edition of London Fashion Week, opening on September 16 2023 and running until 11 February 2024. Tickets are available from today, here.

‘Rebel: 30 Years of London Fashion’ will run at London’s Design Museum from September 16 2023 – 11 February 2024.

Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*, joining the team in 2022. Having previously been the digital features editor at AnOther and digital editor at 10 and 10 Men magazines, he has also contributed to titles including i-D, Dazed, 10 Magazine, Mr Porter’s The Journal and more, while also featuring in Dazed: 32 Years Confused: The Covers, published by Rizzoli. He is particularly interested in the moments when fashion intersects with other creative disciplines – notably art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and reporting from international fashion weeks. Across his career, he has interviewed the fashion industry’s leading figures, including Rick Owens, Pieter Mulier, Jonathan Anderson, Grace Wales Bonner, Christian Lacroix, Kate Moss and Manolo Blahnik.