Valentino presents virtual museum at New York's MoMA

ANSA, Saturday 10 Dec 2011

The launch of the 10,000 square metre Valentino virtual museum attracts some of the biggest stars in New York

Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum

Italian fashion designer Valentino Garavani's virtual museum is the first digital experience within the world of fashion.

Created by Valentino himself and Giancarlo Giammetti, the application was launched in December at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

Anne Hathaway and other celebrities were in attendance. The launch was broadcast live via streaming on YouTube the world over. The idea is unprecedented. By downloading a simple application, users can access a virtual archive that acts as a window into the world of Valentino. The virtual space collects 50 years of history made up of clothing, photography, videos and illustrations from 1968 to 2011. If it were laid out in real space, the museum would measure 10,000 square metres.

The three-dimensional panorama snakes through seven theme-based rooms, showcasing over 300 models that make up the history of the Valentino name. The models are not only a simple image but tell the story of how they came into being, who wore them and when. For example, clicking on a peach-coloured dress worn by Jacqueline Kennedy in her wedding to Aristotele Onassis in 1968, we find a list of articles about the dress written at the time as well as Valentino's original sketch. ''I wanted to show not only clothing, but also the history behind them, from the designs to the women who wore them,'' says Valentino.

At first it was not easy for him to accept the idea of a virtual museum. ''I do not have a good relationship with technology and at times I cannot even turn on a television or put in a DVD without help," he says. "My work is with concrete things. I was used to touching the clothes, materials and the models who wore them.

"Everything was real. In the end, however, I understood the value of this initiative and became enthusiastic about it. Everything began when we asked ourselves a simple question,'' says Giammetti. ''Where could we keep 50 years of activity and how could we make the latter available to everyone? We could not limit ourselves to a real museum, and for this reason the idea of a virtual space arose - one using language understandable even to future generations."

It took two years for Valentino and Giametti to develop the idea. It also required significant investment which they proudly say they put up without any sponsors. Above all, they say that they wanted it to be free for everyone. The museum can be considered a sort of gift for future generations and a tool able to inspire anyone having contact with the fashion world, they say.

''With his clothing he has changed the world and offered a dreamlike vision," Hathaway says. "Now that vision is available to everyone, and the beauty of this reality deserves to be seen by the entire world.''

The virtual museum application is available at

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