Art: Two Italian Fashion Brands Established Artistic Spaces

THE ARTS IN FASHION. Two Italian fashion brands established new artistic spaces to present their creative aesthetics in a distinct new way


“Daywear” section in Armani/Silos

Prada has always set its sights on matters beyond fashion trends and fads. The Italian fashion house has brilliantly sounded off about art, cultural, architectural and even political issues.

This year, it opened the Fondazione Prada (Largo Isarco, Milan, Italy; +39 02 5666 2611;, an arts complex in the southern part of Milan that houses activities in the field of literature, cinema, music, philosophy, art and science.

OMA, the architecture firm helmed by Rem Koolhaas, was responsible for translating Miuccia Prada’s vision and added three new buildings to complement the old ones.


The exterior of Fondazione Prada

A particularly intriguing venue is the “haunted house,” a four-story tower painted in 24-carat gold leaf where an exhibition of Robert Gober’s and Louise Bourgeois’ works is located.

Other featured artworks include Thomas Demand’s set of underground grottos from Prada’s private collection, Damien Hirst’s installation and an exploration of sculptures and photographs from selected artists in the “In Part” exhibition.

Nevertheless, art is not the sole focus of the complex, as visitors can unwind at Bar Luce, a Milanese-themed cafe designed by Wes Anderson.

To celebrate its 40th anniversary this year, Giorgio Armani has, among other things, opened an exhibition space. Also located in Milan, Armani/Silos (Bergognone 40, Milan, Italy; +39 02 9163 0010; was reconstructed from an old ’50s granary.

The building was designed to illustrate Giorgio Armani’s professional experience from 1980 to the present through digital sketches, 600 outfits and 200 accessories. Daywear, exoticism and light are the three main sources of inspiration for the Italian iconic designer; therefore, the exhibition is mainly divided according to those three themes.


“Lost Love” by Damien Hirst (2000) in Fondazione Prada

This is not, however, an indication that the exhibition was meant to merely reminisce on the past. “Because fashion, which seems to want to live in an eternal present, needs to reflect on itself and its own roots in order to face the future,” Armani professed. “Remembering what we were like in the past can help us understand what we might be in the future.” For this fashion force, the future never seemed brighter.