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A new season, new collections… the flurry of activity in the designer studios: mood boards, sketches, fabric swatches, fittings… the launch of a fashion collection is no different to an artist hosting his or her first exhibition. In so many ways fashion and art are like two rungs of the same ladder, creativity and passion being at the crux of both. Art, however, has for many years remained an elitist indulgence, catering to a certain elitist aesthetic, much like couture fashion—the closest link a commercial commodity can have with the art world.
From couture maven Schiaparelli’s collaboration with Salvador Dali to Louis Vuitton’s popular collaboration with Yayoi Kusama, art has played an integral role in the world of fashion and is becoming increasingly retail-ready. And art-inspired collections continue  to bridge the gap between fashion and visual arts.
Brands like Bottega Veneta have from the beginning put the artisan in the forefront of all its creations. Creative Director Tomas Maier, a champion of craftsmanship said, “the Italian artisan was the starting point. Today, the collaboration between designer and artisan is at the heart of everything we do.”
In recent years, we have seen a new trend in this curious affinity between fashion and art. Fashion runways and art galleries have traded their individual spaces for each other. Art galleries have opened their doors to notable fashion retrospectives in a bid to draw in larger crowds and luxury brands have now stepped up their game by moving towards a lifestyle retail concept, inviting their customers to experience the brand—and their world—as a whole.  With luxuxry retail showrooms now housing book stores, cafés and art galleries, customers can now enter a store and experience all that the brand stands for, its collaborations, campaigns as well as the art and artists it champions.

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Espace
Louis Vuitton, Singapore
With its Espace boutiques, Louis Vuitton injects compelling visual appeal to retail experiences, integrating its active support for the arts. Singapore’s own Espace set in Marina Bay Sands, comes with a permanent installation by Turner Prize winner Richard Deacon. It’s no surprise that its well-curated shows attract the crème of the city. Recently Andrea De Cruz and Elizabeth Lazan shared the glam stage at Gao Weigang’s contemporary art exhibition,  “Misconception.” www.louisvuitton.com

 

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Bottega Veneta
YiFeng Galleria, Shanghai
Bottega Veneta has opened a gallery on the second floor of its Bund store—its largest boutique in China. A world-first for the brand, the gallery showcases the works of emerging, non-mainstream artists over a range of themes and mediums. As glamorous as the boutique beneath it, visitors can kick back on the signature brown sofas and take in the artworks on display. world.bottegavemeta.com

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Third Floor
Hermès art space, Singapore
The third floor of Hermes’ Liat Towers store is home to the Singapore edition of the brand’s art-support initiative fuelled by the Fondation d’entreprise. Having played host to pre-Art Basel parties and featured numerous artists including Aiko Tezuka and Hong Kong artist Stanley Wong, this gallery is curated by Emi Eu of the Singapore Tyler Print Institute and is a must-visit. en.fondationdentreprisehermes.org

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Gucci Museo
Piazza Signoria, Florence
Gucci celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2011 with the launch of its museum in Florence. This three-storey heritage building hosts a permanent exhibition showing rare pieces from the Gucci archive as well as contemporary art installations supported by the Pinault Foundation. From a Cadillac Seville designed by Guccio Gucci’s son, Aldo, to the Flora motif, it’s an institution of covetable Gucci history dedicated to art and the restoration of artistic monuments in Florence. Visit www.guccimuseo.com