Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum Opens Its Digital Doors

Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum

Photo: Valentino-Garavani-Archives.org

Digital dresses: A look inside Valentino Garavani's Virtual Museum

When Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti realized the dreaming had gone out of fashion, they quit to create a new dream.

“The nature of fashion today has taken creativity from the designers. In fashion today, there is not enough dreaming,” Giammetti said. “We left fashion because the dreams were not there anymore,” he said of the duo’s “retirement” in September 2007. Instead, “we can capture dreams with our vision.”

Their vision is the Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum, the first digital museum of its kind that offers a rare and up close view into the designer’s archive, which spans over 45 years.

The museum was unveiled by Valentino and Giammetti at a press conference on December 5. The two were joined by guest speaker Franca Sozzani, Hugh Jackman (for the virtual ribbon-cutting), host Anne Hathaway, fresh from the December 4 Kennedy Center Honors in Washington D.C. (she admitted to pulling an all-nighter), and a room full of journalists at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The downloadable fashion museum—the first of its kind—is designed and set up to look much like a wing at MoMA: airy spaces, pristine white walls, various rooms housing everything Valentino. Using real time 3-D technology, the desktop application provides an extremely lifelike experience.

But—and this is key—there are no crowds (and you can take it all in from the comfort of your couch). In the brick-and-mortar “real world,” this museum would be a 10,000-square-meter space, filled from top to bottom with fashion, sketches, ad campaigns, press clippings, celebrity photos and more.

Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum

Photo: Valentino-Garavani-Archives.org

Better with age: Valentino Garavani through the years.

There are seven themed "rooms," which contain over 300 dresses, portraits and illustrations, nine videos of major exhibitions and special events. Each of the 18 "galleries" is designed to appear open and airy, with skylights that reveal a bright blue sky with billowy clouds —the “Roman sky,” Giammetti admitted. You can look at dresses up close and from 360 degrees of perspective. There's even a media library that catalogs more than 5,000 images and an astounding 180 fashion show videos.

“It’s a direct way to reach the people,” Garavani shared. “It’s a simple and direct way to reach people and students. This is the future,” the notorious tech-challenged designer (he once needed to call for someone to play a DVD for him) continued. “This speaks to the future—there are 40-50 years all there in our virtual museum.”

And best of all—besides the unprecedented access—it that all of this amazing content is free.

Giammetti, who worked with a team in Paris for two years to create the museum, admitted this project was the result of needing something to do. “After we stopped working, we gained stature (because of the movie The Last Emperor),” Giammetti said. “People wanted to know more about Valentino. He’s recognized more for the movie than for his work. If you think we’re going to sit on a bench in Central Park feeding the fishes, you’d better change your mind.”

We’re thinking this is not the last we’re hearing from these two new media “gurus.”

The Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum can be downloaded at Valentino-Garavani-Archives.org.

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