From Naomi Campbell to Pearl Lam, Viviene Westwood to the mayor of Paris, exploring how influential women have used fashion to build reputation and assert authority.

Peering into the wardrobes of the world's power-dressing women, this exhibition –​ devised by award-winning architect Zaha Hadid – explores fashion as a marker of status. Thankfully it isn't all shoulder pads and tailored suits; the diverse choice of subjects showcase wide-ranging sartorial style. Zandra Rhodes' outlandish outfits are counterbalanced by the demure designs favoured by Margaret Thatcher. Meanwhile, extravagantly stylish pieces worn by the likes of Naomi Campbell prove that being ambitious no longer means a dress code that's androgynous.

Although the show encompasses 150 years of women's fashion history, it's the contemporary examples that are likely to draw the most interest. Twenty of today's leading female figures were asked to contribute one of their own outfits for display, and in accompanying interviews they elaborate on their personal style philosophy. Ranging from politicians to princesses, the 20 participants include Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti, Serpetine Galleries' Julia Peyton-Jones, Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark, the lead vocalist of Skunk Anansie and HSH Charlène of Monaco.

Design Museum

224-238 Kensington High Street, Kensington, London, W8 6AG

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Opening times

Open daily 10:00 – 18:00 (last exhibition entry 17:00)

The museum is open late on the first Friday of every month from 10am – 20pm (last admission 19:00)

Free to all

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