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Virtual Valentino museum opens, sets the bar for digital designer archives

Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti

The Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum launched today, and is well worth a look.

As reported last month, it showcases five decades of the designer’s fashion history in an immersive 3-D experience; 300 dresses, 5000 images, 100 show videos, all in an equivalent real-world space of 10,000sq m.

Although officially retired from Valentino ‘the brand’, Valentino Garavani and his business partner Giancarlo Giammetti (pictured above) have been working on it for the past two years.

Speaking at a press conference in New York this morning (watch on YouTube), the duo explained that the aim was to showcase the work of a “life dedicated to beauty”, and make it accessible to as many people as possible.

It’s a particularly interesting move for a traditionally non tech-savvy brand (Giammetti joked at Valentino’s inability to even turn the television on).

“It all started with where to keep the enormous amount of things we’ve collected for nearly 50 years,” said Giammetti. “How to make it available to everyone that wants to see it; and how to make it exciting year after year without things becoming dusty or obsolete. Why not then use modern technology… where everyone can move with just a click.”

Albeit in essence a legacy space, Giammetti was quick to highlight that the work continues tomorrow; both in terms of keeping up with technological change, and providing fresh content.

Indeed to encourage return visitors, there will be frequent updates to the museum, be it additional rooms, new drawings and ideas – as suggested by Valentino – or video insights from the likes of Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Italian Vogue who also spoke this morning.

Giammetti pointed out that the museum was funded by themselves and has no sponsors. For them, the numbers are irrelevant, he said. The app is free to download in anycase.

Nonetheless, it will be intriguing to see how it actually does. The McQueen exhibition at the Met was one of the Costume Institute’s most successful of all time; if you were interested in fashion – indeed even if you weren’t – it proved a must-see on the New York calendar this year. Could an online museum ever have the same pulling power?

But perhaps that’s irrelevant. What counts is that Valentino is advancing the fashion industry. While digital destinations to accompany exhibitions have been played with for a few years, virtual archive museums in their entirety are now likely to become increasingly commonplace.

Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway, who hosted the press conference, explained how Valentino and Giammetti together helped shape the industry in the 1960s. “Now, they’re repeating that inspiration,” she said, “setting the bar for other fashion brands around the world.”

I agree.

See below for a virtual tour of the museum, as well as a number of pictures from within it… 

 

The museum entrance
The Red Room
The White Room
The Print and Pastels Room
The Animal Print Room
The Embroidery Room
The image library
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‘Vogue experience’ to hit London June 8

Franca Sozzani, editor of Vogue Italia is set to host a day dedicated to showcasing life behind-the-scenes at her world famous magazine at London department store Harvey Nichols next week.

The “Vogue Experience” follows in the footsteps of similar events held in Milan and Rome. With Lisa Armstrong of The Times and UK Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman as co-hosts, it will offer visitors the chance to learn about working in the fashion industry.

Designers including Christopher Kane, Manolo Blahnik, Philip Treacy and Giles Deacon will also play a part, as will Sarah Mower, Katie Grand and Ronnie Newhouse.

“Vogue Italia’s aim is to actively support the creativity of fresh talent, thus helping to build up a new generation of designers, photographers and stylists able to play a dynamic role in the world of fashion. London is a lively, inspirational city, and I am very happy to share this experience with those who live here and those whose ideas and creativity have made a huge contribution to the fashion system in its broadest sense,” says Sozzani.

It will take place on Wednesday June 8, from 11am – 5pm in a designated area of the store’s fashion and lifestyle fourth floor. To register to attend, visit www.vogue.it.

For those not able to get down to Knightsbridge, however, the whole event will also be live streamed from Sozzani’s blog throughout the day.