Visiting museums or historical places would be a common itinerary for a traveller on holiday. The reason being when people go on a journey, learning about the destination’s culture and history would be an inseparable essence – and museums are the best answer to the thirst of knowledge.
Fashion among other things is one aspect of life, which stands under the spotlight of culture and history of a certain community. Naturally, fashion museums are being built where its heavy influencers, for example designers, arise.
For all the curious fashionistas who love to travel, we have listed the museums where you can get to know your beloved matter better.
Fondation Pierre Bergé / Yves Saint Laurent
Named after the late couturier and his professional and personal partner, the foundation puts on exhibits a wide range of subjects at the former house of Yves Saint Laurent. This includes the rock ’n’ roll photography of Saint Laurent’s current designer, Hedi Slimane, to a historical look at Saint Laurent’s scandalous and historic spring 1971 haute couture collection.
Les Arts Décoratifs
Located in the west wing of the world-famous Louvre museum, Les Arts Décoratifs houses three museums in one: Arts Décoratifs, Publicité and Mode et Textile — and it’s this one that’s home to temporary but dramatic fashion exhibitions. With more than 81,000 works, the two-floor Mode et Textile space owns collections of design legends including Paul Poiret, Christian Dior and Elsa Schiaparelli.
Housed in a 19th-century palace owned by the Duchess Galliera, this museum preserves a staggering 70,000 articles of clothing. France’s historical fashion icons Marie-Antoinette and Empress Josephine are represented heavily in the collection, with contemporary pieces from the likes of Jean-Paul Gaultier and Yves Saint Laurent rounding it out.
Musée Christian Dior
At Dior’s childhood home, Villa Les Rhumbs, in Normandy, the museum keeps a collection of Dior’s oeuvre and stages exhibitions on specific aspects of his work.
Museo Salvatore Ferragamo
The museum is dedicated to the life and work of Salvatore Ferragamo, and the history of the company he founded. Housed in the Palazzo Spini Feroni, former site of the Florentine City Council, it has hosted exhibitions of Ferragamo’s archives and shows on famous Ferragamo clients including Marilyn Monroe and Greta Garbo.
The museum, which occupies three floors of the Palazzo della Mercanzia in Florence’s tourist favorite Piazza della Signoria, looks back at the history of the brand while also making room for art exhibitions borrowed from the collection of Gucci’s owner, François Pinault of Kering.
Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa
This museum is in Cristóbal Balenciaga’s hometown. As the first museum dedicated to the so called “designer’s designer,” the Balenciaga Museum is a shining beacon to the Basque designer. It has a permanent collection of about 1,600 Balenciaga pieces and temporary exhibitions on aspects of the couturier’s world.
The Bata Shoe Museum
Containing nearly 10,000 examples of fashionable footwear in their collection, the Bata Shoe Museum celebrates the broadest scope of the singular accessory. With shoes from all seven continents, the museum contains more than just pair after pair of Manolo Blahnik strappy sandals, along with Chinese foot-binding shoes, European armor, Syrian kabkabs and Ugandan sandals. Aside from their semi-permanent exhibition All About Shoes, the museum orchestrates inventive displays of shoes around themes such as time periods (the roaring ‘20s), cultural traditions (wedding shoes) or ethnicity (Native American footwear). They also own Napoleon’s socks.
The Fashion and Textile Museum
Founded by the exuberant, romantic British designer Zandra Rhodes, the Fashion and Textile Museum stands as a storehouse for contemporary clothing, fabric and jewelry. With pieces ranging from 1947 to today, the collection features notables like Christian Dior as well as British icons Mary Quant and Vivienne Westwood.
Victoria and Albert Museum
The museum boasts over 14,000 items with an extensive selection of fashion from the 17th-21st Centuries including the wedding suit of James II of England (1633-1701). In 2004 they mounted the largest retrospective of British designer Vivienne Westwood, amassing 178 pieces from her archives.
The English town of Bath seems an unlikely place for a museum dedicated to high style, but it has been home to the Fashion Museum (formerly the Museum of Costume) since 1963.
Museo de la Moda
Founded in 1999 by Jorge Yarur Bascuñán, a descendant of wealthy Chilean-Palestinian textile merchants, the privately funded Museo de la Moda owns an impressive 10,000-piece collection. With pieces acquired through auctions and donations, the Museo, the only fashion museum in South America, is in the Yarur Bascuñán historic family home. Its collection, which dates back to 5 B.C., includes the military jacket John Lennon wore during a LIFE Magazine photo shoot in 1966 and the strapless black evening gown then-Lady Diana wore in 1981 during her first public appearance after her engagement to Britain’s Prince Charles.
The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Costume Institute at the world-famous Met houses more than 35,000 costumes and accessories, a collection spanning five continents and dating back 500 years. Actress Sarah Jessica Parker narrates the Institute’s audio guide, “Costume: The Art of Dress,” which highlights the cultural significance of fashion throughout the ages. Their most recent exhibition was the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty.
The Museum at FIT
Housed at Manhattan’s famed Fashion Institute of Technology, The Museum at FIT is known for its innovative and award-winning special exhibitions. It has earned accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums, the highest national recognition possible for a museum. Founded in the late 1960s, it is visited by 100,000 people each year. With a permanent collection of 50,000 garments and accessories from the 18th century to the present, the Museum at FIT places an emphasis on “aesthetically and historically significant ‘directional’ clothing, with an eye toward contemporary avant-garde fashion.
Tassen Museum Hendrikje
With 4,000 bags, purses, trunks, pouches, cases and accessories, this Dutch museum claims to have the “world’s largest bag collection.” Located in a traditional central Amsterdam canal house, the Tassen Museum boasts Western-style handbags dating back 500 years.
ModeMuseum Province of Antwerp (MoMu)
The second-largest Belgian city is known for its sense of style and hipster cool, so it makes sense that a museum celebrating fashion is housed here. A totally renovated 19th century space is the backdrop for ModeMuseum’s thematic exhibitions, which showcase specific designers or fashion-related topics. Rather than parking items in glass cases, curators tailor the museum’s interior spaces to the feel of each exhibition, adding a larger cultural context to the fashion that’s on display.