Within the Vakko Esmod academy, I started my Innovation in Creativity training program where I do fieldwork by visiting museums and art galleries with my students. Our country has such a rich history, I think that’s why we are a little late in establishing a fashion museum. However, there are many museums in the world dedicated solely to fashion. I decided to start exploring these addresses from nearby and wrote about 7 of the best fashion museums in Europe.
1- Yves Saint Laurent Fashion Museum / Paris
There are 2 museums in the world named after the legendary fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. The first one, of course, is in Paris. The other one is in Marrakech.
As you know, the Yves Saint Laurent fashion house closed its doors in October 2007. 15 years later, a fashion museum named after Yves Saint Laurent was opened in the mansion at 5 Avenue Monceau, where the brand’s creations of nearly 30 years, from 1974 to 2002, came to life. This museum reflects both the creative genius of the couturier and the process of creating haute couture collections. But it is not just a monographic museum. Because it’s also the 20th. century’s history and a certain art of living that has now disappeared and is accompanied by haute couture.
The YSL Museum has been restored in the original atmosphere of the fashion house and if you are in Paris until May 2023, don’t miss the special exhibition Gold. The exhibition, which includes all the creations of the fashion designer working in gold color, is a visual feast.
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00 to 18:00. You must check in by 17:15. Entrance fee is 10 euros YSL MUSEUM You can visit on Thursday evenings until 21:00.
2- Galliera Palace / Paris
It is inevitable that France takes the first place among the best fashion museums in Europe. The Duchess of Galliera, who belonged to one of the richest families in France at the time (19th century), said that she wanted to leave her beloved art collection to the French nation on the condition that it would be exhibited in a specially built museum. He even offered to finance such a museum on a large plot of land he owned. The conditions are that the streets on either side of the museum are named Brignole and Galliera and that the museum be named Brignole-Galliera.
The museum, now known as the Galliera palace, is not so long ago a fashion museum. In 1977 PARIS FASHION MUSEUM which has been renamed as the Museum of Fashion, is now one of the most important addresses on fashion not only in France but also in the world. The Galliera Paris Fashion Museum, where more than 200,000 artifacts related to fashion are exhibited, is a must-see for those who study or work in fashion and design, as well as all fashion and history lovers.
The museum in the 16th district is most easily reached by metro line 9. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00 and until 21:00 on Thursdays, with the last entry 45 minutes before closing time.
3- Christian Dior / Granville
In the town of Granville in Normandy, one of the most beautiful regions of France. CHRISTIAN DIOR FASHION MUSEUM in Rhumbs Villa, the house where the famous fashion designer was born and grew up. For a pink mansion overlooking the sea, Dior said that his style was influenced by this house. In the building where all the creations of the fashion designer, who shaped the world of fashion, are exhibited on mannequins, there are also the legendary clothes of Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe.
This museum has Dior’s talismanic star. And the story is very nice. Christian Dior, who was very superstitious, never made a decision without consulting his fortune teller. One day, while walking around Paris, he stepped on a metal star that had broken off a horse-drawn carriage. According to Dior, this metal signaled a positive response to Mr. Boussac, who had offered to open his fashion house. She opened her fashion house and kept this metal star hanging on a ribbon in her atelier all her life. Years later, he had gold pendants made for each employee who had worked with him for more than 10 years and presented them to his employees.
By the way, Yves Saint Laurent, whom I mentioned in the first paragraph of my article, started his career at the age of 19, working for Christian Dior. Dior even identified Yves Saint Laurent as the designer who would keep Dior’s name alive after his death.
4- Cristobal Balenciaga Museoa / Getaria
The museum in Getaria, the birthplace of the famous Spanish designer Balenciaga, is in the former Aldamar palace. Located very close to San Sebastian, the museum’s collection consists of around 1,600 pieces and is the most comprehensive collection of Balenciaga creations in the world, as well as the most representative in terms of both quality and the time period covered.
A favorite of the Spanish Royal Family and aristocracy in the 50s and 60s, Balenciaga’s designs are considered to be the masterpieces of haute couture. There is also a fashion academy where they develop projects with the world’s most prestigious fashion schools every year. In 2022, the couturier will celebrate his 50th birthday. special exhibitions on the anniversary of his death BALENCIAGA Fashion Museum some of their exhibitions GOOGLE ARTS & CULTURE It is possible to see online on the platform.
5- Gucci Museo / Florence
The ultra-modern Gucci Museum in Palazzo della Mercanzia, a medieval palace in Florence, houses the designs of Ronaldo Gucci. Relatively new among the most important fashion museums in Europe, the museum marks the 90th anniversary of the founding of the famous fashion house. It was opened on the anniversary, in 2011. The brand’s iconic pieces such as bags, clothes and accessories, as well as many other products, are spread over 3 floors of the building with permanent exhibitions. The Mercanzia palace is not only used as a museum. The Gucci Gardens, which also houses Gucci’s store and a 3 Michelin-starred restaurant, is open until 19:00 every day of the week.
6- Lace and Fashion Museum / Brussels
The Fashion and Lace Museum in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, which has an important place in the world in lace making, has an important place among the most important fashion museums in Europe. In a sense, the museum, where you will see how lace has been processed throughout history, is located in the 16th century. It houses more than 10,000 clothes, lace and fashion accessories from the turn of the century to the present day. The museum, which also features the famous Brussels lace, was exclusively dedicated to lace until 1977, but was renamed the Museum of Fashion and Lace in 2017.
Here I would like to share some information about lace. Centuries ago, a ball of lace was equivalent to the cost of a sailing ship. The lace in the paintings symbolized nobility, wealth and fertility, and for a long time it was one of the most important raw materials in the Dutch trade.
The Brussels Fashion and Lace Museum, which hosts periodical exhibitions as well as permanent exhibitions, is both ideal for a beautiful journey into the history of fashion and a good opportunity to get to know Dutch fashion closely. By the way, it’s a bit dark inside because the strong light has a corrosive effect on the clothes. For this reason, period clothes are periodically exhibited and then left to rest in a dark warehouse for twice as long as they were on display. The museum is closed on Mondays and can be visited between 10:00 – 17:00. If you are interested in history and want to see the history of fashion, I recommend you not to miss this museum in the center of Brussels.
7- Salvatore Ferragamo Museum / Florence
Salvatore Ferragamo, which gained worldwide fame with the shoes it designed for Marilyn Monroe, is still one of the most important shoe brands of today.
Salvatore’s story is sad. At the first communion of Giuseppina, the sister of Salvatore, one of the 14 children of a Neapolitan farming family, the family has no money to buy white shoes for the little girl. So little Salvatore borrows nails, thread, white canvas and the tools he needs from his village shoemaker. That night, she secretly begins to make her first pair of shoes. In the morning a pair of snow-white shoes is ready and her sister goes to church with great joy. Salvatore’s destiny was sealed that evening when he was 9 years old, he would become a shoemaker.
The Ferragamo museum on the ground floor of the historic Spini Feroni palace in Florence, the headquarters of the fashion house since 1938, is a museum that best defines that shoes are not just an accessory, but a true work of art. Ferragamo museum, which draws attention especially with its unique heel designs, is open every day of the week between 10:30-19:30. It is also possible to visit online
CREATIVITY and INNOVATION are fashion essentials. It is especially important to visit museums and conduct field studies for inspiration. Together with my students at Vakko Esmod Academy, we will visit different museums for 1 academic year and explore both the development of art and the meeting of fashion with art. I look forward to one day adding a museum from Turkey dedicated exclusively to fashion to my list of 7 important fashion museums in Europe.