Luxury and art: a short guide for a long history

Luxury and art: a short guide for a long history

Is fashion an art? It is something that could be argued about. Coco Chanel did not think it was but Yves Saint Laurent definitely did, to the point he worked hard to transfer paintings onto his creations.

What is sure is that luxury is a form of art. The time, dedication and skills required can easily be compared to those of a painter or a sculptor.

This is why the links between luxury and art are so common. I don’t think it is by chance that the most important countries for luxury – France and Italy – are also the most famous for art.

This unions can come in may different forms, the most simple of which is the collaboration between a brand and an artist on a new or reviewed product.

The outcome of these is always interesting but when a luxury brand or group really focuses on art spectacular things can happen.

The LVMH Group is really a trailblazer in the field. The most striking example is surely the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. It is an astonishing beautiful building built by the iconic architect Frank Gehry which, despite being very subtly but deeply linked with the fashion brand, does not focus on fashion at all. Instead, it is a place dedicated to contemporary and modern art that offers incredible exhibitions and installations.

Since art is not only visual, it also hosts an amphitheater build with the best sound technology available.

A place that could easily be considered the Italian version of the Fondation Louis Vuitton is surely the Fondazione Prada in Milan. The Fondazione is a very large space obtained in what once was an Italian steel factory and this makes it very spacious. For this reason, the exhibitions of the Fondazione mainly focus on huge contemporary art installations. Once again, fashion is in no way the focus.


Francesca Policastro

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