“Playing dress-up begins at age five and never truly ends." This famous quote from Kate Spade rings true not only for dressing up, but also for fashion in general. For all of time, humanity has worn clothing that goes in and out of fashion. The history of fashion is vast, and some outfits have been lost by time, while others have been preserved by historians. The following list is a group of organizations that have done an exceptional job at remembering various eras of fashion.
1. Christian Dior Museum and Garden
We here at Aire Beverly Hills love Dior, so maybe we’re biased, but we guarantee we’re not the only one who thinks a Dior museum is worth visiting. Located in Granville, France and at the top of Conde Nast Traveler’s “6 of the World's Greatest Fashion Museums” list is the Christian Dior Museum and Garden. The museum itself is the home where the designer grew up. The timeline on the museum’s website reports that the Christian Dior Museum was opened in 1997, and since then the museum has displayed many elegant exhibits. Among these exhibits areLe Grand Bal Dior,Dior In the Garden, andChristian Dior… Man of the Century. The Christian Dior Museum focuses more on a single designer, but there are plenty of other museums that pay attention to multiple designers and time periods.
2. The Fashion Museum
We get it, putting a place titled The Fashion Museum on a post that is literally called “Top 5 Fashion Museums” is pretty much cheating, but hear us out. The Fashion Museum (which used to be called the Museum of Costume) is in Bath, England. Since its beginning in 1963, The Fashion Museum has had many beautiful exhibits, like the silky gowns of the Belville Sassoon collection, and their fiftieth anniversary exhibit titled50 Fabulous Frocks, which featured fifty of their best dresses. Even if you don’t like fashion, half the museum’s cafe menu is alcohol, so they’ll at least enable a buzz strong enough to let you enjoy yourself. Speaking of alcohol, the next museum is affiliated with multiple colleges.
3. FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise) Museum and Galleries
FIDM has multiple universities in San Francisco, Orange County, and San Diego, and their museum is in Los Angeles. FIDM was open to students in 1969 and the museum was founded nine years later. The galleries feature not only fashion, but also other textiles and forms of art. Many of the featured exhibits come from the university’s graduates, and their Study Collection is made for current students to learn about over two hundred years of fashion history. The Study Collection features various textiles, accessories, and clothing pieces. As wonderful as FIDM is, it isn’t the only fashion school to produce a tourist-attracting museum.
4. Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology)
The museum at FIT was founded in 1969 and according to their site gets over one hundred thousand visits every year. Every year students of FIT Graduate Studies get to present their work in the building. In addition to the student work, FIT has hosted many iconic exhibitions like A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk, Elegance in an Age of Crisis: Fashions of the 1930s, and Madame Grès: The Sphinx of Fashion. Also, the building displays designers like Dior and Chanel. This museum is part of a school, but the next on our list is but a section of a larger museum.
5. The Costume Institute
Fashion may just be a big game of dress-up to Kate Spade and many others, but there are truly some outfits made for make-believe. The Costume Institute, which is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art has many outfits from several centuries and features over thirty-three thousand artifacts. The Costume Institute is rich in history and in prestige. Their “Fashion in Art” has museum docents provide a brief history of various clothing from many time periods from ancient Greece until the 1900’s.
Fashion is not only an eternal game of dress-up, it is an eternal part of human history. Clothing has represented the values and aesthetic preferences of societies for years. However, only five museums have been excellent enough to be on our list. Do you agree with our selection? Tell us why or why not in the comments.
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