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Marilyn, Elton, Cher and Prince Celebrated in New Exhibition

Drop your mic, polish your sequins and sashay over to the V&A this weekend, for the launch of DIVA, its latest, blockbuster exhibition.

More than 250 personal items, including 60 outfits will go on display from legends including Sir Elton John, Cher, Prince, Marilyn Monroe and Grace Jones. Many of these will be showcased to the public for the first time.

The new exhibition celebrates the drive, power and creativity of some of the most iconic divas, past and present, and examines how they shaped popular culture.

Highlights include celeb designer Bob Mackie’s creations for Cher, Tina Turner and Pink; the Oscar-winning, fringed black dress rocked by Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot and Sir Elton’s Louis XIV inspired 50th birthday look, complete with powdered wig and train.

Fans can also admire the diamanté-studded wellies and couture, pink Julien MacDonald gown worn by Dame Shirley Bassey for her 2007 Glastonbury set.

The show will also explore how the interpretation of “diva” - which means “goddess” in Italian - has “been subverted and embraced over time” from the 19th century to the present day.

Act One of the exhibition focuses on the first opera divas, like Jenny Lind, silent movie stars like Clara Gordon Bow - including her only surviving dress - and Golden Age Hollywood stars such as Bette Davis and Monroe.

Act Two explores the modern interpretation of 'diva,' shining a light on legends like Dolly Parton, Barbra Streisand, Rihanna, Cher and Sir Elton John.

Kate Bailey, curator of DIVA, said: “The V&A, with its world-class collections of art design and performance and its mission to inspire creativity in all its forms, is the perfect stage to celebrate the multifaceted diva.

“Today the word diva holds a myriad of meanings. At the heart of this exhibition is a story of iconic performers who, with creativity, courage and ambition have challenged the status quo and used their voice and their art to redefine and reclaim the diva.”

DIVA, V&A Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL. 24 June - 30 April 2024. Tickets £20

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