Things to do in December: our pick of the best design events this month

An exhibition celebrating influential female fashion designers and an event on digital design from an Asian perspective feature in Design Week’s December highlights.

Exhibition and book: Women Dressing Women

Rei Kawakubo with models in Comme des Garcons, courtesy of the Met

You would assume the idea of women dressing women wouldn’t be so unusual, yet the majority of fashion houses have always been helmed by men – with recent headlines noting steps backward in diversity among the biggest brands’ creative directors.

A new exhibition at the Met’s Costume Institute in New York instead focuses on the influential women-led fashion houses from the 20th century to the present – encompassing more than 70 makers such as Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, Claire McCardell, Madeleine Vionnet, Vivienne Westwood and Miuccia Prada.

Four notions – anonymity, visibility, agency and absence/omission – will recast the fashion canon, and consider how the industry provided social, financial and creative autonomy for women.

If you’re not able to visit, the exhibition catalogue, Women Dressing Women: A lineage of Female Fashion Design is worth a look instead, published in the UK by Yale University Press London.

Women Dressing Women opens on 7 December 2023 until 3 March 2024 at the Met Fifth Avenue, New York. For exhibition info visit the museum site here, and find the publication here.

Event: Ardagh Young Creatives x Design Can networking event


On Saturday 16 December design diversity initiatives Ardagh Young Creatives and Design Can are holding a speed mentoring event for 14–25-year-olds interested in a career in design.

Taking place from 11:00 am to 2:30 pm at the Design Museum in London, a range of creative professions from product design, graphic design, art direction, journalism, photography, architecture, digital design and tech will be represented.

The opportunity is open to young people underrepresented in the design industry: young people of colour; those with neurodivergence or disability; those who access free school meals or pupil premiums (or have previously); as well as young carers, and those who are care experienced.

The event requires booking in advance but is free of charge, and the ticket includes complimentary entry to current Design Museum exhibitions Skateboard or REBEL: 30 Years of London Fashion.

Ardagh Young Creatives x Design Can will take place on Saturday 16 December. To book a ticket, visit the museum’s ticket site here.

Fair: Design Miami/ 2023

Bowl chair first model and Bowl chair, 1950’s by Lina Bo Bardi at Diletante42. Image via Design Miami/ and courtesy of Diletante42

The theme for the 19th edition of international design fair Design Miami/ is ‘Where we stand’. Looking at the idea of human connection, the fair will exhibit objects that speak to human experience globally. Some exhibits will celebrate traditional technique and craft, such as India’s first collectible design gallery, æquō; others will celebrate ‘design icons’ of the past and contemporary responses to them – including an early prototype of modernist architect Lina Bo Bardi’s Bowl Chair on show.

A Design Talks programme will take place throughout the fair, covering topics from biodiversity to creating markets through cultural exchange.

Design Week will be visiting Design Miami/ so will be bringing more detailed coverage of the fair in the coming weeks.

Design Miami/ takes place from 6-10 December, with a preview on 5 December. For more information please visit the Design Miami/ website here.

Event: Baezianz x Lucy Hardcastle on Digital Design from an Asian perspective

Bubbles of Serenity by Lucy Hardcastle at Design District

At the Design District on Greenwich Peninsula, London-based collective Baesianz and artist Lucy Hardcastle – whose winter art commission, Bubbles of Serenity, is also on show nearby – will be hosting an event on 13 December exploring digital design from an Asian perspective.

Starting the evening’s events is a looping film curation and a hands-on digital design workshop guided by Sino-Malaysian architect and designer Natalie Liu. This is followed by a panel discussion between Liu, Lucy Hardcastle, and moving image artist Zaiba Jabbar, before the final event of the evening, a conversation between Baesianz’ Jyni Ong and the artist, filmmaker and musician Lawrence Lek.

Planet Baesianz presents: Lucy Hardcastle x Baesianz, will take place at Greenwich Peninsula from 6-9pm on 13 December 2023. For information and tickets visit website here.

Web series: Behind the Doors by Salone del Mobile

Milanese design fair Salone del Mobile has produced a web series called Behind the Doors, inviting you to enter the houses of leading designers – and have a good look at them – while hearing from the designers themselves.

First up is architect Massimiliano Locatelli speaking from a home shaped into a series of “contemporary volumes” within a more traditional building. Guests coming up later in the series include Formafantasma’s Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin, architect and designers Ludovica Serafini and Roberto Palomba; designer Guglielmo Poletti, and architect and designer Piero Lissoni.

While the visuals speak for themselves, the Italian-language series, available on YouTube, is also subtitled for non-Italian speakers.

Behind the Doors has released its first episode on YouTube, and Salone del Mobile’s other social channels.

Christmas workshops at Baltic, Gateshead



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The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead is hosting hands-on festive workshops on 9 and 16 December, inviting visitors to get their festive seasons going in a creative way by making their own decorations.

On Saturday 9 December, artist Bianco Perry will lead a workshop to design, cut and sew a festive food-themed banner that you can take home and add to your decorations.

One week later, textile artist Rosie Anwara is hosting two beginner-friendly sessions to create festive tree decorations: one focusing on  some of her signature felt designs, and a special afternoon session where participants will learn to make decorations inspired by the  much-loved food icons of the North East, from Newcastle Brown Ale to the sausage roll.

For more information and tickets for the workshops on Saturday 9 and 16 December, at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, S Shore Rd, Gateshead NE8 3BA, visit the Baltic website.

Tour: London Transport Museum’s Design Icons

St Johns Wood station, a member of staff posts commercial advertisements on the platform wall. Courtesy of TfL

From Saturday 9 December, the London Transport Museum will be holding a series of design tours at its depot in Acton, West London.

Located in the working depot and restoration centre, museum guides will share the stories behind the globally recognisable designs of London’s transport system – including Edward Johnston’s roundel and Johnston typeface; an assortment of maps, featuring Harry Beck’s pioneering Underground map of1931, and the Routemaster Bus.

The tours will take place on various Saturdays until 9 March 2024, costing £13 full price and £11 for concessions. While aimed at adults, the tours will also be enjoyed by older children with an interest in design.

The on-site art and poster store can be visited at the same time, but a separate series of tours focused on the poster collection will be held from January – March 2024.

The tours will take place Acton Depot, 2 Museum Way, 118-120 Gunnersbury Ln, Acton, London, W3 9BQ. For tickets and information visit the website.

Banner image: The Land of Light”, 2023 by Victoria Yakusha, courtesy of Victoria Yakusha and Design Miami/

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