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The Victoria and Albert Museum, renowned for its vast collections of art, design, and performance, will host the Diva exhibition, an exploration of the term that originated from the Italian word “diva,” meaning goddess, and how it has evolved over time. The exhibition, which commences on June 24, 2023, and runs until April 7, 2024, will feature over 250 objects, including fashion, photography, and music, displayed to celebrate the creativity, courage, and ambition of iconic performers who have redefined and reclaimed the term “diva.”


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Collection Highlights

The Diva exhibition will feature an array of stunning costumes worn by over 60 performers, including Marilyn Monroe, Sir Elton John, and Tina Turner, to name a few. The black fringed dress, designed by Orry-Kelly, worn by Marilyn Monroe in “Some Like It Hot,” will be one of the highlights of the collection, which won an Oscar for costume design and earned the actress a Golden Globe.

Other highlights will include the Louis XIV-inspired look worn by Sir Elton John during his 50th birthday celebration in 1997 and Dame Shirley Bassey’s couture pink gown designed by Julien MacDonald, worn at Glastonbury in 2007. All of the featured performers had their clothes designed by celebrity fashion designer Bob Mackie.

Curator’s Comments

Kate Bailey, the curator of the Diva exhibition, believes that the exhibition is ideal for the V&A, given its extensive collections of art, design, and performance. Bailey stated that the exhibition would celebrate the enduring goddesses of the stage and screen who have shaped and endured our popular culture today, and she is thrilled to see how the term “diva” has been redefined over time.

Act One: The Evolution of “Diva”

The exhibition’s first act, entitled “the goddesses of the stage and screen who have endured and shaped our popular culture today,” will focus on the evolution of the term “diva.” Visitors will be captivated by the complex range of emotions and identities that each performer exudes and how their personas have influenced and redefined the term “diva” in popular culture.

Act Two: Redefining the Modern Day “Diva”

The exhibition’s second act will examine the modern-day redefinition of the term “diva” and showcase stars such as Rihanna, Dolly Parton, Barbra Streisand, Sir Elton John, and Cher. Visitors will be inspired by their creativity, their use of fashion to express themselves, and their ability to transcend and challenge traditional gender roles.

In conclusion, the Diva exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum is an event not to be missed. With its focus on the evolution and redefinition of the term “diva,” visitors will be fascinated by the range of objects on display and the insights into how iconic performers have influenced and shaped popular culture. The exhibition is set to be an enthralling experience that will captivate audiences from all walks of life.

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Hi I'm Oliver Smith, I would say that I take great pride in my work as a journalist and strive to produce high-quality, impactful stories that make a difference. With more than eight years of experience under my belt, I am passionate about uncovering the truth and shining a light on issues that matter.


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