It’s the perfect time of the year to travel, so pack your bags for a trip along fashion history’s path!
And as it happens I love travelling. This is a passion that I had since I was a child (my parents introduced me to world of travel) and I decided to keep this habit since.
As soon as I was independent and I started travelling alone, I created my own style of exploring a new place: local food (for sure), shopping (essential) and culture.
And as for culture we can easily imagine what I love the most: fashion museums.
This article is about the fashion museums I visited in Europe (plus one extra) during my travels, including the fashion museums of the city where I currently live, Florence.
So relax and enjoy the reading, while planning your future fashion-oriented trip!
Via Bergognone, 40 Milano, Italia - www.armanisilos.com
This is the permanent collection of an entire career devoted to beautiful designs. Armani decided to donate a renovate Silos, which was used to store cereals, to the city of Milan, in order to tell his aesthetic story through his wonderful creations.
If you think that “Less is More” you shouldn’t miss it!
Read more about this in my article: Revealing Armani’s creative life in his outstanding museum
Piazza de’ Pitti, Firenze, Italia - www.polomuseale.firenze.it
The palace should be considered the temple of fashion. Not only because of the immense archive of the museums, but also because the visitor is allowed to visit the White Room, where in 1960′s the concept of Made in Italy was born.
You will wander in awe around the galleries, surrounded by masterpieces from the 18th century, to the most recent cult pieces of our century. From ancient fashion to vintage, this is the perfect museum for finding inspiration and to spend a dreamy hour among opulent and breathtaking clothes.
Not to be missed if you’re staying in Florence.
Read my interview with Roberta Orsi Landini, who collaborates with the museums for its exhibitions: People who loves fashion history: the fashion historian
Piazza di Santa Trinita 5, Firenze, Italia - www.ferragamo.com/museo
If you’re fond of shoes, you can’t not love Ferragamo.
The palace of Ferragamo houses the shops and the museum, where a wide collection of immortal shoes are collected and displayed every year with different themes and visuals.
Do you want to take a look at Carmen Miranda platform, Marilyn Monroe pumps or Elizabeth Taylor sandals? This is for sure the right place for every Cinderella in the world, dreaming for her perfect pair of shoes.
Read my post about the Museo Ferragamo: Walking through the history of Ferragamo’s shoes
Piazza della Signoria 10, Firenze, Italia - www.guccimuseo.com
The right place to admire how many declinations the ultra famous GG logo had.
Luggage, purses, sport equipments, shoes, belts and even a car. Through these objects you can retrace the story of one of the most important brands of Italy. From the 40′s pigskin luggage, to Giannini’s heavily embellished red carpet gowns; from the iconic symbol of luxury, the bamboo bag, to Gucci Flora and Accornero, the designer who was inspired by Grace Kelly, the museum is for all fashion lovers’ tastes.
What else could I say to convince you this is a must visit?
Explore the Gucci museum with me with this post: Inside the luxurious world of Gucci
Costa San Giorgio 2, Firenze, Italia - www.bardinipeyron.it
I have to tell you…reaching the villa is not easy as it seems, because it is located on the street leading to Forte Belvedere.
The climb is challenging, but the garden and the museum are worth the effort. I suggest you to visit both, because the view of the city from the terrace of the villa is breathtaking and the museum owns an exceptional collection of Roberto Capucci garments.
He is one of the most creative Italian designer, who decided to dedicated his life, after a brief ready-to-wear Parisian excursus to couture experimentations.
If you’d like to see how dresses can defy the laws of gravity, that’s the right place for you.
Via Puccetti 3, Prato, Italia - www.museodeltessuto.it
You can easily reach the museum with the train from Florence.
Prato is one the most important districts in Italy, where the fabric trade was the main business for over 800 years and nowadays still counts 7000 companies, exporting fabrics all over the world. In the museum visitors will find an accurate permanent exhibition dedicated to the technical aspect of fabrics and to historical samples of rare antique ones.
Plus every year the museum hosts an exhibition about different themes related to fashion or famous designer’s archives.
If you’d like to know everything about fabrics, this museum is a must see.
Mariano Fortuny bought in 1898 just one apartment in the palace, but he was so fascinated by its beautiful architecture, that he bought the entire building and he started the renovation.
He settled his studio at the main floor, where also a wide collections of fabrics, antique books and memorabilia are displayed. This museum is not strictly related to costume, but I think that for fashion historian lovers is a must see.
In there you can find all the tools that Fortuny used to pleat its expensive silk, a couple of Delphos dresses and a collection of printed velvets, produced with Maria Monaci Gallenga.
The atmosphere is incredible, because you can feel the touch of Fortuny everywhere. Venice is full of surprises and this is one the most pleasant.
Read more about the history of pleated dresses: 4 key moments in the history of the pleated dress
107 Rue de Rivoli, Paris, France - www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr
Every fashion lover have to visit this once in a lifetime.
Every year a new exhibition is held in the palace. I visited a lot of them and I’ve never been disappointed. Also the exhibition catalogs are written with great care. Pictures, documents and exhaustive texts are present both in the exhibition, as in the book.
The themes of the exhibitions are also chosen with a great sensibility. They reflect the spirit of our time and they can be a valuable source for inspirations, offering food for thought.
And well, it’s in Paris. I’ll say that again: Paris! Where else would you rather be?
10 Avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie, Rue de Galliera, Paris, France - www.palaisgalliera.paris.fr
Reopened in 2013, after renovation, Palais Galliera or Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris is the ultimate destination for everyone who likes to spend hours surrounded by fashionable dreams.
This museum is completely devoted to Couture and in its archives are collected a wide range of costumes from 17th to 20th century, a collection of accessories and contemporary pieces, a collection of under-wear and a collection of graphic arts and pictures .
You can also consult the great library of the museum, by appointments only, for your researches and studies. Now on display there’s a beautiful collection of Lanvin.
The story of the prestigious atelier is told trhough the innovative vision of the creative director of the Maison, Alber Elbaz.
Villa les Rhumbs Rue d’Estouteville, Granville, France -
Surrounded by beautiful blooming gardens, the villa is the first museum in France entirely dedicated to a Couturier.
Maison Dior’s story is rich of creations and masterpieces produced by the most creative designers’ minds of our time and both the permanent as the temporary exhibitions are stunning.
Visitors can be the testimony of more than 70 years of amazing creations, a story told through garments which deeply changed the fashion habits of our century.
Not to be missed!
Read also my article about Christian Dior: Christian Dior on how to create fashion and skinny models
Nationalestraat 28, Antwerp, Belgium – www.momu.be
This museum is one of the coolest spaces I’ve ever been. If you’re looking for something different, if you want to open your mind and be a great creative, you have to visit this museum.
The exhibitions are unconventional, smart, unusual and the library of the museum has every single book that counts nowadays. This is the perfect place to dive into up to date and avant-garde designs.
So if you’re feeling youmight be the 7th of the “Antwerp Six”, this museum is what you need right now, to shape your future in fashion.
Cromwell Road, London, UK - www.vam.ac.uk
This is not just a museum, this is the ultimate museum. When visiting London this is unmissable.
The museum offers wide sections dedicated to art, fashion and design and fantastic temporary exhibitions. One more tip: visit the bookstore.
Publications of V&A are so accurate and interesting, also the Magazine is a great way to stay focus on twists and turns of contemporary culture.
You can easily lose yourself in there and my suggestion is lose yourself! You will not regret it.
Avenida de Juan de Herrera 2, Madrid, Spain – museodeltraje.mcu.es
The Museo del Traje is not included in the classic tour of the city of Madrid, but both the architecture, as the content of the permanent exhibition are really worth a stop by.
The museum has been developed trying to explain in details the sophisticated world of fashion, from technical and historical point of view. Costumes are nicely displayed and settled in typical scenes of the period they once belonged.
There’s also a section where you can play with crinolines, ruff collars and you can touch different types of yarns and fabrics.
The tour of the museum is very pleasing and the collection is rich of masterpieces and couture garments from everywhere in the world.
R. Augusta 24, Lisbon, Portugal -
Located in one of the main street of the city, this museum was a surprise.
From fashion to design, you can find a wide range of cult pieces from the last century, including designers clothes and accessories. My suggestion is to buy the catalogue of Mude, because the graphics and the contents are contemporary and cool, with pictures of garments and design pieces, displayed in the museum.
Innovative and modern, this museum is worth a stop by.
Once a private residence of the Tsar and his royal family and it counted not only the palace itself, but also churches and cathedrals. Visitors are allowed to visit the architectural complex and the museum, where the precious treasure of the royal family is displayed. Only one word come up to my mind as I remember my visit: breathtaking.
I’ve never seen anything like that. The most opulent richness held in a museum…just try to imagine how garments are! A small section is dedicated to royal costumes, but it’s enough to understand the great luxury, in which the aristocratic Russian families were immersed.
Kremlin is definitely the once-in-a-lifetime museum to be seen.
Although it isn’t in Europe, I strongly suggest a slight detour to beautiful Morocco.
In Marrakech, there is a small gem of a museum inside the famous Jardin Majorelle, the Moroccan residence of fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent.
So before heading home, wherever that is, get some more inspiration from the local Berber culture and enjoy a delicious mint tea while remembering the beauty of textures, colors and shapes you encountered along the journey.
Jardin Majorelle, Rue Yves Saint Laurent, Marrakech, Morocco – www.jardinmajorelle.com
The garden houses the collection of Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent, including the ashes of the late fashion designer, whose grave is placed in a beautiful corner of the garden, surrounded by nature and colorful structures.
Visiting the garden visitors can feel the quiet it carries with its blooming path, the fountains and the high trees. Inside the garden you’ll find a small museum, dedicated to the Berber culture, garments and magnificent jewelry.
After visiting the exhibition, you can really understand why Saint Laurent was fond of their aesthetic and design. If you have the chance to visit Marrakech the Jardin Majorelle is a really special and magical place. Not to be missed!
Some museums are not in the list, as I’ve yet to visit them, but I included them here as you might want to check them out as well.
So this is my wish-list for future trips : )
- Museum of Costume, Bath
- Fashion and Textile Museum, London
- Tassenmuseum, Amsterdam
- Cristobal Balenciaga Museoa, Getaria
- Musée des Tissus et des Arts Décoratifs, Lyon
- Fondation Pierre Bergé, Yves Saint Laurent. Paris
- Musée du Costume et de la Dentelle, Bruxelles
- Palazzo Morando, Milano
- Centro Studi di Storia del Tessuto e del Costume, Venezia
If all this isn’t enough and you want to travel even more I found this awesome website about fashion museums around the world. It’s called Fashion and Textile Museums. Go and explore!
Travelling is a gift. I can say I’ve been lucky having the chance to visit all these places.
And I’m truly grateful to be able to write about them. There’s still museums in Europe that I didn’t visit yet and I hope to hear from you, my dear fashion history addicts, where I should head next!
Also if you know of other cool museums I didn’t mention here, please add it in the comments and I’ll keep it updated.
Did you pack your bags already?