Valentino’s Virtual Museum is Less Exciting Than it Sounds

By prenasharma / / This Monday, Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti launched a virtual museum featuring a library of 5,000 images and 180 runway show videos, among other features. Valentino devotee Anne Hathaway emceed the launch event at MoMa, announcing, “Today we are witnessing the birth of a revolution and I do not believe that word is hyperbolic. This will change art, the art world and how we experience art forever.” The Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum is a testament to the designer’s nearly five decades in the fashion world. Valentino detailed his purpose to WWD, “I see it as part of my legacy. 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.” Valentino’s goal is noble, but after downloading the museum app, I found the virtual space to be lacking in innovation and intrigue. Valentino’s clothing is beautiful and glamorous, but we already knew that. The museum’s sloppy virtual space doesn’t do his designs justice. As a member of the younger generation, this project seems antique to me. I don’t care enough about dresses to clumsily click around a simplistic “palazzo”—I want engagement, of which this app holds none. It feels like an old video game; the stilted navigation is as natural as walking blindfolded without a hand to hold. Loading time lags for each new room and video. The music is of the elevator persuasion and videos are uncontrollable—no skipping or pausing. Granted, these latter aspects are consistent with a physical museum, but the “younger generation’s” online expectations are different. Especially with a brand as technically rich and sensuous as Valentino, its web presence should reflect its ideals. The museum’s layout, aesthetic feel and reliance on user intuition detract from the fluid fantasy that fashion can be. As opposed to a revolutionary showcase, the museum comes off as a series of awkward online self-congratulations. Perhaps fashion students will appreciate the research resource and celebs who attended V’s “White Fairy Tale Love Ball” will enjoy seeing themselves immortalized, but for the rest of the younger generation Valentino seeks to enchant, the virtual museum falls flat. Next time, collaborate with Trent Reznor, give us the opportunity to chat with enthused celebs, let us skip through videos for the grand fashion show finales. Now that museums like New York’s MoMA and the Whitney are curating cutting-edge technology, it is not the time for web to take a step back and meet them in the middle. A virtual museum should be a new adventure, not the web-based representation of an old-fashioned space. Get back to the drawing board, Valentino. Your designs deserve better. Download the app here.