Top 10 Fashion Museums in the World

Andy Warhol once said: “Fashion is more art than art is” and who are we to argue with him! Fashion and art have always gone hand in hand. From concept to design, to creating and finally, to showcasing – each stage is part of an artistic process in pursuit of an artistic expression. So, with this in mind, let Artsper show you the Top 10 fashion museums where you can marvel at the most magnificent fashion exhibitions and collections from across the world…

1. The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York)

Alexander McQueen on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

First, we take a trip to the Big Apple. The Met Museum, home to the Met Gala, one of the most extravagant and opulent celebrations of wearable art! Annually materials are skillfully manipulated to push fashion to dizzying extremes both visually and conceptually, with months of thought and planning going into every creation. Head to the Costume Institute at one of the most iconic fashion museums to see pieces dating from the 15th century to present day!

2. The Victoria and Albert Museum (London)

Past Exhibition, Wedding Dresses 1775 – 2014 

Known as the world’s leading museum of art and design, the V&A is where you can find some of the finest, most sophisticated exhibitions. Housing previously the Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibition, Wedding Dresses 1775-2014, The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014, they truly know how to cater for everyone. This autumn 2020 be transported to Kyoto with the Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk exhibition… Or travel through time, tracking the history of the humble bag in Bags: Inside Out. Otherwise, just pop to Room 40 and surround yourself with the fascinating history and evolution of fashion for free! 

3. The Fashion Museum Bath (Bath)

Part of the permanent collection on display

The Fashion Museum Bath began in 1963 thanks to Doris Langley Moore after she donated her vast collection to the city of Bath. Now the museum has over 100,000 items for visitors to peruse. Here you can see a vast range of iconic fashion moments from Queen Victoria’s boots to Kendall Jenner’s pleated pink couture tulle dress by Giambattitsa Valli worn at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. Tourists and fashion experts alike flock to this museum to see this world class collection.

4. The Bata Shoe Museum (Toronto)

A striking staircase lined with extraordinary shoes!

This is the place for anyone obsessed with shoes! It was founded in 1979 after Mrs. Bata’s own extraordinary shoe collection grew too extensive to be housed under her own roof. Today, it is far from simply a frivolous display of footwear.  Their principle aim is ‘to establish an international centre for footwear research’. This has resulted in the publication of academic papers such as the Spirit of Siberia: Traditional Native Life, Clothing and Footwear. So if you are a true shoe fanatic this fashion museum should be your dream destination…

5. The Simone Handbag Museum (Seoul)

Simon Handbag Museum, also known as ‘Bagstage’

This museum is not only found in the intoxicating fashion centre of Seoul but it is also shaped like a handbag! But if this futuristic architecture does not satisfy you then no worries; this museum has 300 beautifully crafted bags dating back to 1550. Although it is only two floors, there is ample here to get you thinking about the importance of handbags in self expression for women throughout history. 

6. The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (LA)

Past exhibition at the FIDM

Situated in LA, the FIDM is another busy hub for textiles, fashion and costumes with over 15,000 meticulously chosen pieces, spanning over more than 200 years of history. The location of this museum means it also benefits from the Hollywood costume departments and each year it holds the Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design. 

7. The Kyoto Costume Institute (Kyoto)

Just some of what is on offer at The Kyoto Costume Institute! 

The primary aim of the KCI is to hold exemplary pieces of western fashion to examine and showcase how western dress has influenced the world over. They believe that fashion reflects the world around us and ultimately can be used to understand our own existence… Much of their work involves collaborations with other fashion museums. Nevertheless, a visit here will leave you touched by how western style is delicately woven into modern Japanese fashion.

8. The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York)

Image of past exhibition The Corset: Fashioning the Body

Known for its modern and exciting exhibitions such as A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk and the award winning London Fashion… The FIT Museum always offers an overview of 250 years worth of fashion with exhibitions being changed every six months. The main floor is dedicated to the students, so you are always guaranteed to be seeing the cutting edge ideas in fashion!

9. The Ferragamo Museo (Florence) 

Rows and rows of beautifully crafted shoes to admire!

This is another one for all those shoe lovers out there – The Ferragamo Museo! This small but mighty museum in Florence is dedicated to all things Salvatore Ferragamo. It has over 10,000 shoes created by Ferragamo himself from 1920 until his death in 1970. Today, the museum puts a clear emphasis on sustainability within the brand. For example, the hand crafted rainbow heel that was made entirely with sustainable materials and processes.

10. The Palais Galliera (Paris)

Chanel dress from the up-comingGabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto exhibition’

And finally, founded thanks to the Duchess of Galleria, since 1977 Palais Galliera has been a permanent museum dedicated to fashion! Discover exhibitions of French fashion design and costume from the eighteenth century to present day. Here you will find garments owned by Marie Antoinette, the largest clothing collection from the Age of Enlightenment, that dress from Breakfast at Tiffany’s and pieces from all the greats of the fashion world! 

So here you have the Top 10 fashion museums we at Artsper think you should be checking out as soon as the world gets back to normal… In the meantime there are plenty of online fashion exhibitions from these museums available from the comfort of your home!