Museums of Luxury: Art Temples of the Fashion World

Franky M.

The relationship between art and fashion has never been closer. Firms like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Ferragamo have created their own museums to perpetuate their legacy and display their history.

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum recently opened its rooms to showcase the work of iconic French couturier Hubert de Givenchy, one of the last representatives of the golden age of haute couture. Through one hundred historical designs, the museum illustrated the legacy he has built during his 40 years as a designer. Among his most famous creations, of course, is the black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, a romantic comedy from 1961.
Museums of Luxury
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.

This is an excellent example of what has become the trend in the last decade: evening dresses by famous designers, sleeves adorned with rhinestones, and ruffles with history finding their way into museum galleries. High fashion has always claimed its place in the art world, and cultural institutions have taken note of the attraction of tulle and silk.

Even the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum in Moscow surrendered to Monsieur Christian Dior, to whom it dedicated a retrospective. The exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, with pieces by the British designer who died in 2010, was very successful at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) in New York. And Marc Jacobs’ designs for Louis Vuitton were welcomed at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris.

Museums of Luxury
Salvatore Ferragamo Museum.

Presently, the most profitable label of the global brand LVMH, will be able to hold shows in its own space, since last October the Louis Vuitton Foundation opened in Paris, with headquarters that function as an art museum and cultural center.

The link with art is important for luxury firms because it provides them brand recognition and international reputation. Many have chosen to build their own museum with the desire to perpetuate their legacy and show the public their history, heritage, and core values in the luxury industry. Precisely, in 2011, a new global fashion temple opened in Spain: The Cristobal Balenciaga Museum in Guetaria, the birthplace of the Spanish fashion genius. It cost $37 million and feeds mainly from the 1,200 costumes in the Balenciaga Foundation collection.

Museums of Luxury
Gucci Museum.

Christian Dior has his museum in Granville, France, and his compatriot Yves Saint Laurent gave his name to the Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation in Paris. In Florence, Italy, you will find the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo and Gucci Museum, both commissioned by the companies themselves. Valentino Garavani took a step further and brought his work to the cyber world: the Italian master opened, along with his eternal partner, Giancarlo Giammetti, the first digital fashion museum.  ■

© | 2019