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Shoes worn by Naomi Campbell during her famous catwalk tumble to go on display at the V&A

London’s Victoria and Albert Museum has revealed more details about its new exhibition chronicling the 40-year career of British supermodel Naomi Campbell.

The exhibition will mark the first time the South Kensington museum has held an exhibition focusing on the career of a living fashion model.

NAOMI: In Fashion will trace key moments in Campbell’s career and personal life by displaying 100 curated outfits from her personal wardrobe, comprised of ready-to-wear and haute couture ensembles.

Many of the pieces chosen typify key moments in the model’s career, including a 1989 Thierry Mugler car-inspired bustier, the pair of blue Vivienne Westwood platform shoes worn when she famously tumbled on the catwalk in 1993 and her 2019 Met Gala Outfit by Versace.

Visitors can expect a vast archive of pieces by designers such as Alexander McQueen, Azzedine Alaïa, Burberry, Chanel, John Galliano, Virgil Abloh and Yves Saint Laurent, among others.

The exhibition will also feature fashion photography curated by former British Vogue Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful, with work by Campbell Addy, Nick Knight, Peter Lindbergh and Steven Meisel.

The model, now 53, was born in Streatham, London, and was scouted aged 15 in Covent Garden. She quickly rose to prominence and became the first Black model to star on the cover of Vogue Paris in 1988.

The exhibition is billed to focus on Campbell’s well-known activism work, in which she has advocated for race equality from an early age, joining the Black Girls Coalition in 1989 and fronting the 2007 ‘black issue’ of Vogue Italia.

Campbell pictured alongside clothes that have typified key moments in her career (Getty Images)
Campbell pictured alongside clothes that have typified key moments in her career (Getty Images)

NAOMI will recognise Campbell’s mentors such as Nelson Mandela, who she credits as the inspiration behind her charity and philanthropic work. The pair knew each other personally, and he once named Campbell his “honorary granddaughter”.

An additional section will examine Campbell’s intense personal and professional relationship with the late Tunisian-born, Paris-based designer Azzedine Alaïa – who she would call “Papa”. Alaïa opened up his home and studio to the young model early on in her career, and with her mother’s permission, Campbell lived with the designer, his partner and their dogs as she made her mark on the modelling industry.

Campbell regularly posed for Alaïa, and together, the pair crafted runway magic and were behind some industry-shaping editorial campaigns. A leopard-print knitwear bodysuit from Alaïa’s Autumn/Winter 1991 ready-to-wear collection will feature in the V&A exhibition, which was worn in a photograph by Herb Ritts in 1991 for Interview magazine.

Campbell pictured at the launch of ‘NAOMI: In Fashion’ (Getty Images)
Campbell pictured at the launch of ‘NAOMI: In Fashion’ (Getty Images)

Campbell said of the exhibition: “I’m honoured to be asked by the V&A to share my life in clothes with the world.”

Sonnet Stanfill, Senior Curator, Fashion, V&A, said: “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.”

Though this is not the first time an exhibition about a living person has taken place at the institution – there was a showcase on Kylie Minogue’s life and career in 2007 – the exhibition marks the first celebration of an individual living model’s career.

On International Women’s Day, The Independent named Naomi Campbell on its influence list, which charts the 50 most influential women from a variety of worlds spanning the arts, politics, business and sports.

NAOMI: In Fashion, supported by BOSS, will run from 22 June 2024 to 6 April 2025. Tickets are available on the V&A website here.