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Inside The Naomi: In Fashion Exhibition, A Celebration Of A Culture Icon

London’s V&A Museum is showcasing a groundbreaking exhibition: NAOMI: In Fashion, and it’s not just about the clothes, although there’s plenty of runway magic to admire. The exhibition is a groundbreaking celebration as it’s the first to focus on a model, rather than the designer. Curated in collaboration with Naomi Campbell herself, the exhibit showcases pieces from her wardrobe alongside designer loans and V&A treasures. Spread across two floors, it tells the story of a young black woman who dared to dream and, in the process, changed the face of fashion forever.

Stepping into the exhibition, you’re greeted by a montage of Campbell’s iconic runway walks. Each strut is a testament to her fierce presence, a quality fashion expert Michaela Angela Davies describes as “walking like a warrior.” 

The journey starts with Campbell’s early years. Visitors hear her talk about the freedom of dance, a passion that would later translate into her legendary runway walk.  A photo of her first catwalk entry pass for Yves Saint Laurent sits next to a pair of well-worn ballet shoes – a poignant symbol of the path not taken.  A video montage follows, showcasing Campbell’s fierce strut down runways for fashion royalty like Anna Sui, Chanel, and Vivienne Westwood.  Each stride is a testament to her power and presence. Looks from brands like Alexander McQueen, Azzedine Alaïa, BOSS, Burberry, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Jean Paul Gaultier, John Galliano, Karl Lagerfeld, Kenneth Ize, Torishéju Dumi, Valentino, Virgil Abloh, Vivienne Westwood, Yves Saint Laurent and many others are on display.

But beyond the glamour, “Naomi: In Fashion” tackles the challenges Campbell faced. Text and video delve into her experiences as a black model in a predominantly white industry, and her activism continues to this day.  Campbell acknowledges the pioneers who came before her and her role in opening doors for the next generation.

Written by Eyram Rafael

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