London exhibition celebrates supermodel Naomi Campbell’s career

Always one sashay ahead of the pack, Naomi Campbell is the first supermodel to get her own solo fashion exhibition.

Opening at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum on Saturday, the star has loaned outfits from her private collection to be put on display.

Complimenting around 80 garments in the exhibition are photos and items from Campbell’s personal archive that help to celebrate her glittering 40-year career.

Project curator, Elizabeth Murray, says highlights include an Yves Saint Laurent dress made of white fluffy bird of paradise feathers and “mock croc” blue Vivienne Westwood shoes that Campbell famously tumbled on in a 1993 catwalk.

Her relationships with big names like Westwood, Gianni Versace, and Alexander McQueen are commemorated in the exhibition, with numerous dresses which she wore on the catwalk, for a modelling shoot, or to special events.

Campbell’s close connection with Tunisian-born couturier Azzedine Alaïa is acknowledged in one section of the exhibit.

It features the leopard print bodysuit that she wore for a shoot with Herb Ritts in 1991 and a selection of Alaïa dresses that were made specifically for her.

“She met him in 1986 when she was in Paris and they fostered a really wonderful personal and professional relationship. His clothes, there’s so many of them in her wardrobe,” says Murray.

The supermodel is also known for championing fresh fashion talent like Nigeria’s Kenneth Ize and British designer, Torishéju Dumi, who both have designs on display.

“I think the impact of Naomi on emerging creatives and their career really can’t be overstated. She makes a huge difference in so many people’s career when she walks for them, and she uses that kind of very, very cleverly and intentionally.”

Proving that any moment for Naomi is a fashion moment, the museum is also showcasing two outfits where the Streatham-born supermodel brought her trademark style to less than stylish moments.

In March 2007, Campbell completed community service in New York, for throwing a phone at her maid, and left the sanitation garage dressed in a sparkling Dolce and Gabbana dress.

She even made PPE fashionable by putting a Burberry cape over a hazmat suit, complete with face mask, during the pandemic.

Both are on show at the museum.

And the V and A display has Campbell’s stamp of approval.

“Naomi’s been around this week, kind of looking at the exhibition, and it’s been great to see her look around and reflect on her career,” says Murray.

“Every time we look at another garment, there’s another story which comes out about how she wore it or the design or how it was styled, which has been really great.”

Naomi in Fashion at the Victoria and Albert Museum is running from 22 June to 6 April 2025.