Valentino to Launch “Virtual Museum” Featuring More Than 5,000 Images

Amid the flurry of blockbuster fashion exhibits (see: McQueen) and note-worthy fashion tomes (see: Carine Roitfeld's "Irreverent"), Valentino Garavani and his partner, Giancarlo Giammetti, have taken the bold step of creating a fashion exhibit in digital form: the Valentino Virtual Museum.

The exhibit is a desktop application that will be available for download starting December 5 and will showcase 50 years of archives through 5,000 images -- including illustrations and photographs, in addition to runway pieces -- and 95 fashion show videos. The exhibit will, according to a release, use 3D technology to fully render the exhibit as an immersive digital experience.

While Garvani has already been the subject of a movie and feted at numerous parties (most notably his retirement extravaganza in Rome for his 45th anniversary), the virtual musuem is a pointed move to cement the designer's legacy as he sees it -- not through the lens of, say, the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Exhibit or anyone else. As the designer told WWD:

“I see it as part of my legacy,” Valentino said. “I am happy that thousands of students, young designers and fashion people will be able to see and study my work in every aspect of it, and in a manner easy and accessible for the younger generations. But it is also important to remember things of the past, to review the fashion that has shaped our lives. I would call it ‘Future Memory.’”

Looking at the sheer breadth of the exhibit -- which is previewed in the video below -- it's easy to see why Garavani and Giammetti chose to make the experience virtual: If the exhibit existed in real space, it would encompass more than 107,500 square feet.

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