Every other year, the timeless Serenissima opens its doors to the Art Biennial, one of the most prestigious and avant-garde art festivals in the world. The Biennale buzz travels through the magical venetian canals and meets the world. You have definitely scrolled through Lorenzo Quinn’s monumental sculpture, titled Support, in your Instagram feed: a pair of gigantic hands rising from the city’s emerald waters, embracing the Ca’ Sagredo Hotel as a statement of the effect of the rising water-levels due to climate change.
Yet, the Art Biennial does not merely gather the greatest artistic pioneers of our time. La Biennale di Venezia is also a runway for the ‘crème de la crème’ of the fashion universe. From fashion dynasties like the LVMH group to million-follower fashion bloggers, Venice sinks with creativity. As the fashion critic Tim Blanks states, ‘the Biennale still offers the worlds of fashion and design the grandest opportunities to impress their finer selves’.
Indeed, the Venice extravaganza has a magnetic power leading to high-end fashion events like Festa, the Bulgari High Jewellery Collection unveil with Bella Hadid as a special guest. Fendi on the other hand, as a sponsor of the Italian pavilion, organised a glittering cocktail party to celebrate its contribution to the arts.
Courtesy of Bulgari
However, the Biennale is also the meeting place for the lavish modern-day Medicis-the high-fashion owners turned into fervent art patrons like Miuccia Prada and Francois Pinault from Kering. Pinault has his very own exhibition spaces: the Punta Della Dogana and the Palazzo Grassi, both hosting the ground-breaking Damien Hirst. Similarly, Miuccia Prada is proudly showcasing her very own Fondazione Prada on the Grand Canal.
It’s a phenomenon.
The fashion sphere is massively investing into the Arts. From Foundation Louis Vuitton to Fondazione Prada and Foundation Cartier more and more design houses become patrons for the arts. Is this general trend a personal interest of the brand owners or rather a form of must-do Corporate Social Responsibility? Is it all about the arts or is it manner to enhance the brand’s name and identity?
Francois and Salma Hayek Pinault (tomandlorenzo.com)
For sure, these fashion brands owners are prolific art collectors, LVMH’s Arnault owning more than 2,000 art works. However, a patronage of the arts attracts media attention and visibility, especially within the fashion sphere, leading to the communication of messages to targeted audiences without direct sale.
Fondazione Prada Venice (designboom.com)
Fondazione Prada claims a separation between its artistic activity and the Prada fashion house. However, this is easier said than done. The mere fact that the Foundation’s logo incorporates the Prada name implies that 31% of visitors are linked to the fashion world with fashion content expectations. This specific cultural offer is then definitely part of a branding technique promoting a certain vision for the Prada brand name: luxury, expensive materials, avant-garde artists…perfection.
Undoubtedly, this freshly established link between art and fashion is aiming at honouring the maison’s name. However, the preservation of heritage and the strive to create it by inspiring artists in a virtuous circle of creativity is only positive for the artistic universe.
It’s certain, art looks good in fashion.