An exhibit opening this week at London's Victoria and Albert Museum, which will display glamorous Italian fashion from years past, is being promoted in a very modern way.
To celebrate "The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014," opening April 5, UK-based Net-a-Porter commissioned 22 exclusive pieces of costume jewelry from prominent Italian fashion houses including Dolce & Gabbana, Etro, Marni, Missoni and Moschino (the last of which managed to exclude McDonald's and Spongebob from its contribution). Ten percent of all sales will be donated to the V&A.
The collaboration sounds a lot like what fellow luxury e-tailer Moda Operandi did around the Met's "Punk: Chaos to Couture" exhibit last year. Moda, one of the event's sponsors, tapped 12 designers including Rodarte, Balmain, Thom Browne and Prabal Gurung to design exclusive, punk-inspired pieces.
Somewhat similarly, Louis Vuitton collaborated with artist Yayoi Kusama on a range of products leading up to her retrospective exhibit at the Whitney in 2012 -- one of many instances of designer Marc Jacobs collaborating with artists.
The fashion industry has long sought to align itself to the fine arts world, and it appears the growing popularity of fashion-themed museum exhibitions is providing more occasions to do so. The benefit is mutual: These collaborations help to increase awareness of the exhibitions and promote them to a fashion audience, while the retailers and designers involved enjoy exposure to a broader audience outside of fashion fans. Whether these collaborations can successfully drive sales, however, remains to be seen: We don't recall that Moda Operandi's punk collaboration was widely sold out on the site.