It’s technically winter in Doha, but it’s not just the city’s temperatures that are red-hot. A duo of blockbuster fashion exhibitions is warming the city’s sartorial cockles; both opened in early November 2021 as part of the schedule of Qatar Creates. The global summit – which focuses on cultural innovation across disciplines including art, design and fashion – also played host to the third iteration of Fashion Trust Arabia, an annual gala from the non-profit initiative, whose mission is to support designers across the MENA, with financial backing and industry support.

Here, we present the fashion exhibition must-sees in the city encircled by desert. 

‘Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams’
M72 
Closes 31 March 2022
 

Dior Designer of Dreams Doha installation view

Dior Designer of Dreams Doha installation view

Top, photography: Nelson Garrido  Bottom, photography: Daniel Sims

The first fashion exhibition on show at M7 in Msheireb Downtown Doha – a new hub for fashion, design and tech entrepreneurship designed by architects John McAslan + Partners – is the latest travelling iteration of the seminal retrospective that first opened at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, before moving onto the V&A in London, and then Brooklyn Museum (where it runs until February 2022, see our guide to NYC fashion exhibitions).

At M7, Doha dives into the design history and language not just of Monsieur Dior, but of the creative directors that succeeded him: Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons, and Maria Grazia Chiuri. This show – curated by Olivier Gabet and featuring new scenographic installations by Nathalie Crinièrealso features pieces owned by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, a long-standing client of Christian Dior Couture.

‘Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech’
Fire Station
Closes 31 March 2022

Virgil Abloh Figures of Speech installation image

Virgil Abloh Figures of Speech installation image

Installation view, ‘Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech’, Fire Station, Qatar Museums. Photography Courtesy of Qatar Museums. Courtesy of The Gymnastics Art Institute & Virgil Abloh Art Studio and Design Practice ©️ 2021. Exhibition Design: ©️ AMO/Samir Bantal

The creative polymath’s first museum exhibition in the Middle East, ‘Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech’ offers a mid-career retrospective, straddling the spheres of visual arts, music, fashion, architecture and design. The exhibition was first shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Abloh’s home city, before moving to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. In Doha, it is exhibited across three gallery rooms, and features more than 55 works charting the remarkable output of the Pyrex Vision and Off-White founder and men’s artistic director of Louis Vuitton.

Semiotics, streetwear and the nature of dialogue and narrative come into focus as Abloh explores the power of the logo, the role of street signs and the symbolism of high jewellery. Most poignant is the exhibition’s Black Gaze room, which analyses Abloh’s role in challenging the fashion and design industry’s long-standing exclusion of Black talent, and his ability to provide other people of colour with a global platform. The show is curated by Michael Darling in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and Samir Bantal from AMO/OMA. §