V&A Songbook Trail to show personal archive items from Taylor Swift

A number of objects on loan from Taylor Swift’s personal archive will go on display temporarily at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in South Kensington this summer.

Taylor Swift: Songbook Trail, which opens on July 27 and has free entry, will feature 16 looks worn by the Grammy-winning singer, 34, who is currently on her blockbuster Eras Tour with performances in Edinburgh, Liverpool, Cardiff, London and Dublin.

The temporary trail will offer visitors a chance to see costumes and archival material up close, with many items on display for the first time.

A still of Taylor Swift wearing a black ruffled gown in her music video
The black ruffled dress from the Fortnight music video will be on show at the V&A (TAS Rights Management, LLC/PA)

Costumes will sit alongside music awards, storyboards and previously unseen items from Swift’s archive which will explore her childhood and recording legacy, the V&A said.

Among the items to see will be customised cowboy boots worn by Swift during 2007’s Soul2Soul II Tour, as well as the black ruffled dress worn in her recent music video for Fortnight, the first single from The Tortured Poets Department.

In the Fortnight music video, Swift stars opposite US rapper and singer Post Malone, with lyrics like ‘I love you, it’s ruining my life’, already a favourite among her dedicated fans, who are known as Swifties.

Each of the stops on the Songbook Trail will showcase a chapter in her music career, while also spotlighting eras of her music and songwriting career, which began when Swift moved to Nashville, the home of country music, when she was 14.

The Songbook Trail will take visitors on a journey through permanent galleries at the V&A while presenting some of Swift’s famous looks in conjunction with spaces and objects from the museum’s own collection.

The installations have been designed by Tom Piper, whose other projects include the V&A’s 2021 exhibition Alice: Curiouser And Curiouser.

Taylor Swift in her Willow music video strumming a mandolin on a small stage and wearing a long white dress
The dress from the Willow music video will be on temporary display at the V&A (TAS Rights Management, LLC/PA)

Swift’s billion-dollar Eras Tour sees her play dozens of chart-toppers across her discography, including hits from albums 1989, Red and Midnights, with the set list also including songs from The Tortured Poets Department.

The tour has travelled through the Americas, Asia and now Europe, and has drawn an impressive celebrity following, with the Prince of Wales and his children, Hollywood star Tom Cruise and Fleabag favourites Andrew Scott and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, in the audiences.

The pop star also delighted fans during one of her London dates when she was joined on stage by her American football star boyfriend, Travis Kelce, who made a surprise appearance at Wembley Stadium.

Kate Bailey, the museum’s senior curator, theatre and performance, said: “We are delighted to be able to display a range of iconic looks worn by Taylor Swift at the V&A this summer – each celebrating 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 runs at the V&A South Kensington from July 27 to September 8 2024, with more information available at Vam.ac.uk.