When London’s V&A Museum announced in February that it was seeking a Taylor Swift superfan for an advisory role, it may have been burying the lead. 

Opening at the V&A South Kensington later this month will be “Taylor Swift | Songbook Trail,” a show centered on 16 outfits worn by the 14-time Grammy Award–winning musician. 

The show celebrates Swift’s lyrics and music videos in addition to her costumes, delving into the global Swift phenomenon. Also on view: instruments, music awards, storyboards, and previously unseen archival materials pertaining to her childhood and legacy. It stretches from her earliest styles, when she emerged as a country musician in 2007 clad in cowboy boots, to the jet-black ruffled-shoulder dress she sports in the video for the single “Fortnight,” from her latest album, Tortured Poets Department

“We are delighted to be able to display a range of iconic looks worn by Taylor Swift at the V&A this summer,” said Kate Bailey, senior curator for theater and performance. “Each [celebrates] a chapter in the artist’s musical journey. Taylor Swift’s songs like objects tell stories, often drawing from art, history, and literature. We hope this theatrical trail across the museum will inspire curious visitors to discover more about the performer, her creativity, and V&A objects.” 

Pop singer Taylor Swift performs in a music video

A still from the music video for “Willow” (2020) by Taylor Swift. Photo courtesy TAS Rights Management.

Leading through the museum’s collection galleries, the “trail” will juxtapose Taylor’s looks with spaces and objects from the museum’s holdings. 

Designed by award-winning designer Tom Piper, the show anticipates Swift’s triumphant return to London’s Wembley Stadium for a five-night stand with opening act Paramore on August 15. 

The V&A is only the latest museum to seek to juice attendance with a Swift show. The Stone Harbor Museum in New Jersey has just opened a showcase of Swift memorabilia, including photos of a young Swift and her family vacationing at the bayside borough. Last year, New York’s Museum of Arts and Design devoted an entire floor of its facility to a show devoted to the pop star. 

“Taylor Swift | Songbook Trail” will be on view at the V&A Kensington, Cromwell Rd, London, the U.K., July 27–September 8, 2024.


Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.