Top 5 Fashion museums in the world
There is not a more blissful activity for a fashion enthusiast than flipping the pages of fashion magazine to know how the trends from the week before have fared the following week, what collection has set a fresh wave of trends trickling down the production pyramid and more. But have you ever wondered why the sole of a Christian Louboutin piece is always a custom red or why Japanese samurai footwear is distinctly different from ballroom slippers? Fashion in its truest sense is art, where every piece tells a story of its own. So, what better than to experience the journey of a truly iconic piece and live the story through the ages?
Here are 5 museums across the world dedicated to telling the story of fashion through the ages.
- Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Although not the most elaborate or iconic on this list, the costume wing of the MET is definitely the most popular. It is best known for the infamous Met Gala(The annual summer exhibition): the invitations to which are some of the most coveted by people of renown throughout the world is hosted by Anna Wintour each May.
With pieces that date back to the 15th century from every continent, the Costume Institute at the Met has 35,000 items in its encyclopedic collection. What was once an independently funded institution in 1937 after its merger with the Met is one of the earliest museums dedicated to fashion.
The Costume Institute organizes one or two exhibitions annually. Though the collection is not on permanent public view due to the sensitive nature of textiles, two fashion-focused tours are available: “Fashion in Art,” a tour led by Costume Institute docents that discusses costume history within the context of the Museum’s collections of armor, textiles, paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts; and “Costume: The Art of Dress,” a recorded Audio Guide narrated by the actress Sarah Jessica Parker that highlights historical costume throughout the Museum’s galleries.
Visitors can get up close to costumes and gain deeper insight through multimedia screenings alongside the displays.
- Victoria and Albert Museum—London
As one of the world’s largest museums featuring art and design, it’s no surprise that they claim to host a fashion collection that spans five centuries, making it the largest and most comprehensive collection of dress in the world. Key items in the collection include rare 17th-century gowns, 18th-century ‘mantua’ dresses, 1930s eveningwear, 1960s daywear and post-war couture.
The collections are particularly strong from the 18th century onwards, containing mainly European fashion and accessories for men and women, together with important items of 19th-century dress for the elite in India, China and Japan. The collection also includes a wide range of accessories from across the world, including footwear and hats.
- Bata Shoe Museum—Toronto
Besides being an unusual and unique Toronto attraction because its award-winning five-floor shoebox structure skillfully developed by the architect Raymond Moriyama, the Bata shoe museum is known for housing 13,000 pairs of shoes from various parts of the world and from various ages in history. On the surface, shoes are an indication of personal taste and style, but a closer examination yields a different picture. Viewed chronologically, shoes trace a path through technological development and mark even the subtlest shifts in society’s attitudes and values. Footwear illustrates entire ways of life, indicating as it does the climate, religions, professions, and attitudes to gender and social status of different cultures through the ages. Whether they are objects of beauty or instruments of torture, shoes are sure signs of the times.
The BSM which was established under Sonja Bata celebrates the style and function of footwear in four impressive galleries. Footwear on display ranges from Chinese bound foot shoes and ancient Egyptian sandals to chestnut-crushing clogs and glamorous platforms. Over 4,500 years of history and a collection of 20th-century celebrity shoes are reflected in the semi-permanent exhibition, All About Shoes. Three other galleries feature changing exhibitions, so there’s always something new to see.
- Museum of Fine Arts and Lace, Alençon, France
According to the CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER, the Museum of Fine Arts and Lace located about 108 miles west of Paris in Alençon, a small town famed around the world for its lace production. Such was the fame associated with the needlepoint lace creations of seamstresses in that town that it prompted duchesses to flock to them for their wedding dresses in the past.
A true heaven for lace lovers, the museum features glorious creations made exclusively from lace and a still-active room where women make the lace today by hand and will demonstrate their craft for visitors.
- The Museum at FIT | New York
The FIT in New York, renowned for its consistent ranking in the top five fashion institutes in the world, is also home to a museum with a collection of 50,000 garments and accessories from the 18th century to the present; one of the most extensive in the world indeed.
Important designers such as Adrian, Balenciaga, Chanel, and Dior are represented. The collecting policy of the museum focuses on aesthetically and historically significant directional clothing, accessories, textiles and visual materials, with emphasis on contemporary avant-garde fashion.
MFIT is best known for its innovative and award-winning special exhibitions, including London Fashion, which received the first Richard Martin Award for Excellence in the Exhibition of Costume from the Costume Society of America.
For the 100,000 people who visit The Museum at FIT each year, they work to create exhibitions, programs, and publications that are both entertaining and educational. The mission of the Museum is to advance knowledge of fashion through exhibitions, programs and publications. It is undoubtedly ‘the most fashionable’ museum on the list.
At JD Institute of Fashion Technology, we believe that no good design can be made iconic without an understanding of the creations of the past. Fashion Design is a form of self- expression and identity and has evolved through the ages to bring out countless examples of true artistry that continues to inspire young minds even today. Through the 1 year diploma or even the 3-year graduate Fashion Design Course, every aspirant fashion designer is equipped to design his collections with an eye towards the future trend and fashion forecast with an extensive knowledge of the past.
The Fashion Design Course program at JD Institute of Fashion Technology abides by the evolving trends, norms, cultural dynamics and innovations of the Indian and International Fashion industry.