An exhibition about Taylor Swift designed by Tom Piper is taking over London’s V&A Museum

It’s no secret that Swifties travel. Last May, Taylor Swift fans came from cities all over the world to see the pop star perform during her Eras Tour: Her show in Paris alone is anticipated to earn almost $1 billion in ticket sales.

But will Swift fans schlep to London to see an exhibition about design? Today, curators at the V&A Museum are banking on it. On July 27, a show called Taylor Swift | Songbook Trail designed by Tom Piper will take over much of the historic venue in South Kensington.

The exhibition will showcase ephemera from Swift’s life that celebrates her lyrics and music videos. Taking center stage at Taylor Swift | Songbook Trail will be 16 outfits that Swift has personally worn at concerts from 2007 to today. Other artifacts also abound from her personal instruments, music awards, storyboards, and even previously unseen archival materials from Swift’s childhood.

At Victoria and Albert Museum 2024 017
V&A Museum (Mike Peel/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0)

Akin to the recent retrospective at Brooklyn Public Library for Jay-Z, Taylor Swift | Songbook Trail will be explore the rise of an American music icon. The show is meant to encapsulate the overall Taylor Swift phenomenon, Artnews reported.

The overall timeline for Taylor Swift | Songbook Trail starts in 2007 when Swift first emerged as a country musician and concludes with her hit single “Fortnight” from Tortured Poets Department, her latest album.

The artifacts will be inserted throughout V&A’s lauded collection, forming what Piper has called “the trail.” The trail will have 13 stops which represent a chapter in the songbook of Swift’s career, V&A curators said. This device is meant to juxtapose the pop culture items with relics from antiquity, encouraging viewers to identify commonalities between epochs.

BorderTaylor Swift on The 1989 World Tour 2015. Courtesy of TAS Rights Management LLC
The show will exhibit costumes Taylor Swift wore starting in the early 2000s through today. (Courtesy TAS Rights Management)

Kate Bailey, V&A senior curator for theater and performance, is shepherding the production. “We are delighted to be able to display a range of iconic looks worn by Taylor Swift at the V&A this summer,” Bailey said in a statement. “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.”

Taylor Swift | Songbook Trail is open at V&A from July 27 through September 8.

It comes just in time for Swift’s show in London at Wembley Stadium on August 20.

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