9 of the world’s best fashion museums

Fashion is an important part of human behavior and culture. It is also a very fleeting creature. Depending on what is considered modern and chic at any given time, fashions change with cultural winds. This does not only apply to clothing but also to behavior. Think about being late in fashion, and even travel destinations. Someday a certain place is all the rage – where everyone flocks. The next one is outdated. Fashion as a status symbol, an outward expression of your place in society, and many other aspects of life make it such an interesting subject to consider in relation to history.

Fashion museums are an inexhaustible source of documentation of what has been considered essential (and exaggerated) over the centuries, providing insight into the drastic changes in men’s and women’s clothing and, last but not least, the evolution of the use of fabrics and accessories. . Fashion is creativity and art, and not just frivolous fashion as some seem to think. It affects everything from makeup and hairstyles to body shape (from the voluptuous ladies of Ruben to Twiggy) and etiquette.

It is not surprising that fashion museums have sprung up around the world, either to celebrate the work of a specific designer who has become an icon, or to show the evolution of accessories, for example shoes and shoes. hand bags.

Follow us on a journey through the world’s most beautiful and popular fashion museums and the fabulous cities in which they are located.

1. Yves Saint Laurent Museum


For many years, French designer and couturier Yves Saint Laurent owned a fabulous villa and garden in the Moroccan city of Marrakech. The name of the sumptuous villa is Oasis, and the sumptuous exotic garden is known as Majorelle, named after the first owner of the property.

In 2017, the YSL museum open, located next to the Villa Oasis and the Majorelle Garden, you can easily combine a visit to the museum with a stroll around the property. The 43,000 square foot museum is a modern structure, combining cubic shapes with a terracotta brick facade, handcrafted in Morocco from local materials and designed to resemble the threads of fabric. It contains 5,000 garments, 15,000 sewing accessories and thousands of sketches as well as a bookstore, café and extensive research library. Known for inventing women’s tuxedos and the safari look, Saint Laurent was the designer of unique and expensive dresses, and he also made ready-to-wear accessible to the less affluent public. Comfort and elegance are the hallmarks of his style. The museum offers a detailed insight into all aspects of her creativity as well as the evolution of women’s fashion from the 1960s.

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2. Victoria & Albert Museum


Located in leafy Kensington, London, the VIRGINIA is the largest museum of applied and decorative arts and design in the world with 2.27 million objects. Founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert, the fashion department offers over 14,000 outfits ranging from the 1600s to the present day. Here, you can see how men dressed lavishly centuries ago and how women finally ditched restrictive corsets. Many international designers are represented and you will see outfits worn by celebrities like Audrey Hepburn. Admission is free but a donation is always welcome, and you must now book a tour in advance.

3. Institute of Fashion Technology

new York

Located at 227 W 27th Street, this museum opened in 1969 and, in shows that change each year, reflects the world of fashion over the past century. The themes of the shows vary, from Hollywood designer Gilbert Adrian to Denim, Black Fashion and Queer History of Fashion to Elsa Schiaparelli and Alexander McQueen. It is a paradise for modern fashionistas. Although it is part of a university campus, the museum is open to visitors.

Shoe exhibition, Ferragamo Museum in Florence, Italy.
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4. Ferragamo Museum

Florence, Italy

Milan may be the fashion capital of Italy, but Florence is the homeland of the most famous Italian shoemaker: Ferragamo. Located in the basement of the medieval Spini Feroni Palace, acquired by Salvatore Ferragamo in 1938 as the headquarters of his company and workshop, the museum now houses some 10,000 sketches and shoes as well as wooden shapes of so-called famous feet. Ferragamo shoe models quickly became famous and fashionable with wealthy clients and were featured in movies. They are always coveted due to the quality of craftsmanship and instantly recognizable designs. The company now also manufactures belts and handbags. The building itself, which was restored in 2000, is a delight to see.

5. Handbag museum


Handbags are of course an important fashion accessory, and the most famous museum in the history of handbags and purses was in Amsterdam. Unfortunately I have to use the past because the museum, located in a building in the historic district of Herrengracht, fell victim to the coronavirus and closed permanently in April 2020. You can still admire the building and others of the same style in it canal district. . The museums still open of this kind (which are rare) are the Simone Handbag Museum in Seoul, South Korea and ESSE scholarship museum in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Lace Museum in Calais, France.
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6. Lace museum

Calais, France

Since its existence, fine lace has played a major role in the adornment of clothing and therefore of fashion. The Lace and Fashion Museum in Calais, France, located in a lace factory, is a treasure trove of all things lace. While lace was originally made entirely by hand, the invention of the loom by the English was a game-changer. You can discover the lace tradition in France in this museum as well as admire sumptuous dresses adorned with lace on the first and second floors of the building.

7. Balenciaga Museum

Getaria, Spain

Cristobal Balenciaga was born in Getaria, located about 25 km west of the charming port city of San Sebastian in northern Spain, and Getaria is the seat of the museum dedicated to his work. Considered by many, including his peers like Coco Chanel, to be the ultimate couturier as opposed to a fashion designer, he was best known for the quality of his designs, mainly ball gowns with swirling skirts and ruffles and gowns. of bride. One of his most famous clients was Grace Kelly, and he made the wedding dress for Queen Fabiola of Belgium, of Spanish descent.

You can reach the museum, which houses around 1,500 objects, by bus from San Sebastian. Note that due to current regulations, you must book in advance. Don’t miss a visit to San Sebastian, one of the world’s top seven foodie destinations, or the chance to sample the region’s exquisite cuisine.

Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City.
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8. Frida Kahlo Museum


Known as Maison Bleue, this museum was the home of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. It can be reached from Mexico by bus or car as it is only 10 kilometers away. It is called the Blue House because of its cobalt blue walls. The house contains his paintings, a collection of pre-Columbian sculptures and, through the pretty garden, his dresses. Frida was as creative and original in her clothes as in her artwork. A visit to the Maison Bleue therefore gives you a unique glimpse into the life and creativity of this exceptional artist, often ill.

Christian Dior Museum in Granville, France.
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9. Christian Dior Museum

Granville, France

The founder of one of France’s biggest fashion houses, Christian Dior, grew up at Villa Les Rhumbs, a gray and pink mansion perched on the edge of a cliff in Granville, Normandy. His childhood home was a source of inspiration for his creations and is today the seat of the Christian Dior Museum. Probably best known for its debut collection, named New Look, with its rounded shoulders, loose skirts and cinched waists, Dior quickly made a name for itself as a fashion designer to stars including Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe. Her sketches and several of her dresses, donated by former clients, can be admired in the beautiful villa. Do not miss to visit the garden.

If you are based in Paris, you can join Granville via a three hour train ride or, of course, by car.

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