My Name Is Prince Exhibition

Some of the outfits and instruments on show at the exhibition.

Last December I went to see the My Name Is Prince exhibition at the O2 in London. The last time I'd been to the O2 was back in August 2007 to see Prince during his '21 Nights in London' residency. That night I got to see a 90 minute show in the main arena followed by a 90 minute after show party at the small Indigo club. It was definitely a night to remember.

The exhibition entrance

I was now back to have a close look at some of his personal items from his career including instruments, clothes and artefacts. The experience was bitter sweet: the only time I got to see Prince's clothes and instruments was when I saw him in concert. This time, he wasn't there.

The VIP Experience
We took the VIP experience so we waited in the small downstairs march shop and waited until we were called up. We were led through the main entrance to a small side room where we could leave our coats and were given a tote bag with a laminate and programme inside. We were informed what the VIP experience included and were led into the main exhibition hall and into another side room. In here, there were many trunks that were used to transport Prince's clothes and instruments.

The clothes trunks in the VIP experience

Prince's dressing room set-up
There was a replica set-up of his dressing room table with his make up and items placed out. The main advantage of the VIP experience was getting to hold one of Prince's purple guitars (it was used mainly in 2004 during the Musicology Tour) It felt strange holding it. It was a very heavy guitar and was a deep shade of purple. We were then showed some live footage from the 2007 O2 shows.

The 'white glove' experience

Some of the outfits had sketches next to them showing the designers original ideas which was interesting to see.

The jackets from the early 90's.

Design sketch

Design sketch
We then went back to the waiting area and had a drink. We were then free to go back to the main entrance and enter the exhibition.

The beginning of the exhibition focused on the start of his career in 1978
Purple Rain Tour outfits
Purple Rain Tour outfit
Purple Rain Tour outfits
We got out audio players and went in, starting at the beginning of Prince's career in 1978. The exhibition ran fairly chronologically starting with some of his early instruments and photos moving through to the 1999 era and Purple Rain where many outfits were displayed along with note pads and other bits and pieces. I was struck at how petite Prince's frame was. A lot smaller than he seemed in concert.

Some of the outfits I seem to remember were the colourful paisley suits from the Purple Rain tour, both the 1999 video and Purple Rain movie purple trench coats, the 'Hot Thing' suit from the Sign "O" The Times tour, the 'Gemini' suit from the "Batdance" video, the 'Lovesexy' jacket (which looked huge!) and The Gold Experience suit from the 1995 American Music Awards. It was quite overwhelming having so many outfits around, I kept having to go back and check I hadn't missed any.

The main exhibition room featuring the symbol mic stand
The main exhibition room
The main exhibition room
The main exhibition room
An Act II Tour outfit (1993) alongside 3 outfits from the Lovesexy Tour (1988)

The main hall area had a large symbol-shaped stage in the centre and focused on his later career and had many videos (1999My Name Is Prince, Gold) and performances (Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Super Bowl) being shown. There was a section that featured images of Paisley Park (a way of getting people to visit the museum over there, I think) with lots of video footage of the studios playing. The audio guide gave a basic history of Prince's life and career, nothing I didn't already know. The exhibition was quite busy and seemed to be a mix of die-hard fans with more casual, curious fans.

The end of the exhibition had a replica of the gate outside Paisley Park on which fans had left messages and artwork after his passing in 2016. After this we went to the larger merchandise store to get some items. I picked up 3 hardback books: Paisley Park Studios, covering the history of the recording studio, Fashion, showcasing many of his outfits and lastly Instruments which covered his guitars and other instruments. The books were £25 each but were high quality and featured gorgeous photographs. There were many other, fairly expensive items on sale. If money was no object I would have probably bought more but the books were enough for me.

5 favourite things...
  1. The Gold Experience-era outfits from 1994-1995... the AMA gold suit had such detail including logos and text on the heels and fronts of the boots. It was also cool to see the 'Exodus has Begun' outfit from the White Room performance in 1995.
  2. 3121 Jacket... one of my favourite album covers featured this jacket and it was great to finally see it in person.
  3. "Batdance" outfit... seeing the detail and batman logos on the front of the boots.
  4. The iconic 1999 purple trench coat was amazing and in better shape than the Purple Rain trench coat which looked faded in areas.
  5. The "My Name Is Prince" chain hat from the iconic photoshoot with Herb Ritts in 1991. Again, it looked like bits were missing but it was a treat to have a look at it close up.
Prince's jackets including several 'Minneapolis' versions from the 1988 Lovesexy Tour.
Prince's jackets
Collection of shoes, hats and shades
Set list from Prince's show in Gothenburg, Sweden on 12th August 2011.
Prince's shirts
Prince's bass guitars


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