Fashion as Art: Museums Around the World

Whoever said fashion isn’t art hasn’t been to any of these fashion museums. Musée des Arts Décoratifs at the Louvre: Paris

Paris is one the fashion capitals of the world, and unofficially one of the gluten capitals of the world. So if you find yourself in Paris anytime soon, you can easily satiate both your bread and fashion needs. To accomplish the latter, check out the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, located in the Palais du Louvre’s western wing.

Tassenmuseum Hendrikje (Museum of Bags and Purses): Amsterdam  

Going to the Castle? When you’re in Amsterdam, check out the Museum of Bags and Purses. This museum has both women’s and men’s handbags from as early as the 16th century and up to the contemporary era. Here, a handbag is so much more than a handbag: it’s an artifact that reflects a particular historical period. Plus, it’s gift shop and tea room are supposedly off the charts.

Victor and Albert Museum: London

The Victor and Albert Museum in London is the largest museum dedicated to decorative arts and design, so it’s highly unlikely that you’ll leave without feeling at least a bit inspired. Devote a day to exploring the museum’s textiles, furniture, clothing, accessories, and the John Madejski Garden. Although airfare to the UK costs a pretty penny, excluding special exhibitions, entrance to the museum is always free.

Kobe Fashion Museum: Kobe, Japan

The Kobe Fashion Museum, the first museum in Japan to specialize in fashion, features galleries of fashion from Japan and abroad, a library filled with texts about fashion, as well as space for design workshops and lectures with Japanese designers. Another plus for the museum: the exterior of the building looks like a UFO.

Museo Frida Kahlo (Frida Kahlo Museum): Mexico City

Frida Kahlo is not just iconic for her paintings, but for her personal style as well.

Also known as Casa Azul (“Blue House”) due to its vibrant blue exterior, the museum is in the house where Kahlo grew up, where she lived with her husband Diego Rivera, and where she died in 1954. Riviera created the museum in 1958 to honor Kahlo’s memory and since then visitors have been able to view Kahlo’s paintings, as well as her personal possessions such as her large collection of clothing. At the Casa Azul, you’ll be able to see some of the gowns she wore in her self-portraits, like the dress in “Self-Portrait in a Velvet Dress.”

The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: New York City

The Anna Wintour Costume Center at the Met houses the Costume Institute, a collection of more than 35,000 costumes and accessories from five continents and seven centuries. The Met is famous for its annual Met Gala and special exhibitions, with recent events including PUNK: Chaos to Couture (2013), and Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (2011), which in its three month run attracted over 500,000 visitors. Starting this May, the Met will feature an exhibition called “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology,” which Apple will sponsor.

Museum of Fine Arts: Boston

Boston may not be one of the more stylish cities in world, but what we lack in sartorial prowess, we make up for with our smarts. Similar to the Met’s upcoming exhibit, the Museum of Fine Arts current exhibition “#techstyle” explores technological innovations in the fashion industry. Think digitally printed designs, clothes made from recycled materials, or even from 3-D printers. The exhibit runs until July 10th, and you can get into the MFA for free with your Emerson ID, so really, there’s nothing stopping you.

Photo courtesy of Wiki Creative Commons