A woman explores the Virtual Museum application at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti have unveiled a project that has absorbed them for much of the past two years: a 3D virtual showcase for the archives of the Italian fashion house they built, Valentino.
The Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum, introduced Monday at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, is the first digital exhibition developed by a fashion designer. “And it’s not likely to be the last,” Valerie Steele, director of the Museum at FIT, said following the unveiling. “I think everyone will do this,” she added.
The virtual museum comes as a downloadable desktop application for Macs and PCs. (Notably, much of the content is stored in the cloud.) Users navigate through various galleries and wings that would take up some 10,000 square feet in a physical museum. Three hundred dresses are on display in total. Users can click on the dresses to pull up original sketches, advertising campaigns and other archival footage. In some cases, dresses can be rotated in 3D.
The Valentino Virtual Museum contains 300 dresses, 5,000 archival images and nearly 100 videos.
The wealth of information is staggering, and as an archive, the Virtual Museum feels comprehensive. But the Virtual Museum’s weakness is on the tech side.
The design looks outdated: the vectors are rough and, in many instances, the dresses are missing cast shadows, making them look pasted to the museum steps. The images and 3D models should be available in a higher resolution and with better zooming capabilities. Moreover, we’d prefer if the entire experience existed for the browser and, ideally, for mobile.
On stage, Giammetti teased Garavani for his lack of technical know-how. “He has to have someone turn on the television for him,” he said, evoking a laugh from the audience.
“It’s true,” Garavani admitted, before discussing the overall state of the fashion industry. “In fashion today there is not enough dream,” he said, alluding to the pressure of the bottom line. “But you can capture dream in a museum.”
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