Top 40 Best Must-Visit Fashion Museums in the World
"Fashions fade, style is eternal." - Yves Saint Laurent.
"You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it." - Edith Head.
"Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life." - Bill Cunningham.
A FASHION MUSEUM is dedicated to or features a significant collection of accessories or clothing. There is some overlap with textile museums.
Notable examples include the Costume Museum of Canada, the Fashion Museum, Bath, the Musée Galliera in Paris, and the Fashion Museum of the Province of Antwerp MoMu. National museums with significant fashion collections include the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York contains a collection of more than 75,000 costumes and accessories.
A TEXTILE MUSEUM is a museum with exhibits relating to the history and art of textiles, including: extile industries and manufacturing, often located in former factories or buildings involved in the design and production of yarn, cloth, and clothing. Functional use of textiles such as for clothing and bedding. Textiles used in decorative arts, such as for fashion, carpets, tapestries, embroidery, lace, and quilts.
Fashion Museum News, Reviews & Resources
- 12 most beautiful fashion museums in the world - "From one of the biggest art galleries in New York, to Christian Dior’s childhood home, it is a combination of historic architecture and inspired curation that places these museums in the ranking of the 12 most beautiful fashion museums in the world."
- Costume & Fashion History Museums in Great Britain List - "Always Check Directly with Museums for Updated Information."
- Fashion museum - Wikipedia.
- Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto review - modernist magnificence still chic after 140 years - "V&A, London: While Coco’s understated elegance lacks the fireworks of Dior or McQueen, the exhibition is carried by the energy of a formidable, if not exactly likable, character."
- Harry Styles, Bjork & celebrating fashion’s rebels - "Rebel is on at The Design Museum, London, until 11 February 2024."
- Lee Miller: Dressed - Brighton Museum & Art Gallery. 14 October 2023 to 18 February 2024.
- Textile museum - Wikipedia.
- The Art of Style: 16 of the World's Greatest Fashion Museums - "Forget about stuffy galleries full of paintings from 500 years ago: Several inspiring modern museums are curating clothing and displaying pieces with the same cultural reverence as a Da Vinci. From collections dedicated to specific designers (St Laurent, Ferragamo, Dior) to ones examining a particular item (handbags, shoes, even lace), these style-centric spots make our must list. And, of course, they all have lustworthy gift shops."
- The best NYC museums for fashion lovers - "Museums, but make it fashion. Fashion lovers, put on your walking shoes: It’s time to see the best of the catwalk and beyond with a whirlwind tour of New York’s museums."
- Top 10 Museums - Fashion & Textile Museums - "Where to see the best museums for fashion & textiles around the world."
Top 40 Fashion Museums in the World
- Balenciaga Museum - CristÓbal Balenciaga Museum - since 2011. "The legacy of a Genius." The collections housed in the Cristóbal Balenciaga Museum, largely put together thanks to the collaboration of people related to the couturier and their families, is an important demonstration of the material and immaterial legacy left to us by Cristóbal Balenciaga. The articles making up the collections are registered, catalogued, handled, processed and stored according to the strict criteria and protocols established by the Museum’s Conservation and Restoration Department. It features iconic versions of his sack dresses and balloon jackets, plus other creations. Aldamar Parkea, 6, 20808 Getaria, Gipuzkoa, (Basque Country), Spain.
- BATA SHOE MUSEUM - since 1995. World’s largest - and best - shoe museum (Toronto, Canada). The museum collects, researches, preserves, and exhibits footwear from around the world. It offers four exhibitions, three of which are time-limited; lectures; performances; and family events. The collection contains over 13,500 items from throughout history, as well as the present. It is the only museum in North America dedicated solely to the history of footwear. 327 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1W7, Canada.
- Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum - since 1979. "The collection at Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum consists of items that were obtained by its affiliate organization - Bunka Gakuen (established in 1923) - with the intention of enriching education on the westernization of clothing. Initially, the collection mainly consisted of European dresses, early Japanese western style clothing, and kimonos. After the Second World War, the museum received garments from East and South East Asia which were obtained before the war by an organization affiliated with the Japanese army. This formed the basis of the museum’s traditional ethnic clothing collection. From 1970s-1990s the museum actively sought to expand its collection to include garments from a variety of different regions. Today, the museum seeks to create a comprehensive and systematic collection which includes garments from a variety of regions including Japan, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Latin America." 3-chōme-22 Yoyogi, Shibuya City, Tokyo 151-0053, Japan.
- CHRISTIAN DIOR MUSEUM - since 1987. "The Christian Dior Museum is the only 'Musée de France' dedicated to a couturier. Since 2010, in addition to an annual thematic exhibition, it organizes an autumn-winter exhibition, “Une maison, des collections”, showing its permanent collections and its most recent acquisitions. In June 2012, it obtained the 'Maison des Illustres' label from the Ministry of Culture." 1 Rue d'Estouteville, 50400 Granville, France.
- Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum - since 1897. "Welcome to Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Cooper Hewitt is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historical and contemporary design, and is the steward of one of the most diverse and comprehensive design collections in existence—more than 215,000 design objects spanning 30 centuries. From ancient textiles and works on paper to icons of modern design and cutting-edge technologies, Cooper Hewitt’s collection serves as inspiration for creative work of all kinds and tells the story of design’s paramount importance in improving our world." 2 East 91st Street, New York City, NY 10128, U.S.A.
- Costume Museum of Canada - "Our museum seeks to preserve and exhibit the costumes worn by the people of Canada over the decades." The Costume Museum collection holds more than 35,000 textile artifacts reflecting clothing worn over a 400-year period. It was the first textile Museum in Canada. 70 Arthur St #410, Winnipeg, MB R3B 1G7, Canada.
- DUTCH SHOE MUSEUM - "In the Dutch Leather & Shoe Museum the shoe industry, contemporary design and technology are brought together. In addition to a permanent collection, the museum also showcases changing exhibits. A visit to the museum will leave you amazed at the versatility of designs and styles of such an everyday item as the shoe." Raadhuisplein 1, 5141 KG Waalwijk, The Netherlands.
- Europeana Fashion Portal - "Discover hundreds of thousands of fashion items from Europe's richest collections." As of September 8, 2023: 84,383 fashion items.
- Fashion & Lace Museum - since 1977. The Fashion & Lace Museum (formerly the Costume and Lace Museum) preserves remarkable pieces of fashion history. Most attention is paid to Brussels and Belgian creations. The collections are displayed in the context of annual thematic exhibitions. Lots of pieces in lace and textiles are shown as well. The City of Brussels Fashion & Lace Museum has over 20,000 items of clothing, lace and accessories from the 16th century to the present day. It presents its collections in rotation, through annual exhibitions." Rue de la Violette 12, 1000 Brussels, Belgium.
- FASHION + TEXTILE MUSEUM - since 2003. "A celebration of textiles, fashion and related disciplines from designers and makers around the world." The only museum in the UK dedicated to showcasing contemporary fashion and textile design. The museum is committed to presenting varied, creative, and engaging exhibitions alongside an exciting selection of educational courses, talks, events, and workshops. In place of a permanent collection is a diverse programme of temporary exhibitions displaying a broad range of innovative fashion and textiles from designers and makers around the world. 83 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XF, England.
- Fashion for Good Museum - since 2017. "The world's first museum for sustainable fashion. The Fashion for Good Museum is an interactive fashion museum for the future of fashion, where we tell the stories behind the clothes you wear and how your choices can have a positive impact on people and our planet. In the museum, you will learn where your clothes come from and discover which innovations will shape the future of fashion. Throughout the building, you can find concrete ways to have a positive impact, commit to taking action and shop sustainable products (that is, when you need to shop at all)." Rokin 102, 1012 KZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
- Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising | FIDM - since 1969. "To be the global resource for the study of fashion past, present, and future." The FIDM Museum and Library, Inc. collects, preserves, and interprets fashion objects and support materials with outstanding design merit. It fosters student learning, public engagement, and recognition of the creative arts and entertainment industries by providing access to the collections through exhibitions, publications, and other research opportunities. 919 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, California, 90015, U.S.A. Museum entrance located on the Ground Floor.
- FASHION MUSEUM Bath - since 1963. "A world-class collection of contemporary and historical dress." The Fashion Museum (formerly The Museum of Costume) is one of the world’s great museum collections of historic and fashionable dress. Designated as a collection of outstanding national significance, the Fashion Museum was recently listed by CNN as one of the world’s Top 10 fashion museums. Assembly Rooms, Bennett St, Bath BA1 2QH, U.K.
- Fortuny Museum - since 1975. Mariano Fortuny isn't a household name today, but in the early 20th century he became renowned in the high-fashion world for his finely pleated gowns worn by myriad glamorous women. S. Marco, 3958, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy.
- GERMAN SHOE MUSEUM - "Shoe. Design through the Ages." The STEP BY STEP: Shoe.Design through the Ages exhibition is based on the German Leather Museum’s unique shoe collection and is firmly centered around shoes, their design, and their cultural significance. Historical exhibits are deliberately combined with items from the second half of the 20th or the 21st centuries in order to highlight and reveal continuities and changes in the development of shoes and shoe design. In a total of eight thematic areas, basic types such as sandals, slippers, low shoes and boots are explained and questions raised: How does a shoe develop? Since when have we distinguished between right and left shoes? What materials are used to make shoes? Why do we recognize designer shoes today? What is the cultural significance of certain types of shoes? How have heels developed and what are the erotic connotations of specific models? Over 15,000 artefacts. Frankfurter Str. 86, 63067 Offenbach am Main, Germany.
- GIANT SHOE MUSEUM - Actual real GIANT SHOES on display. The Museum displays part of the collection of Danny Eskenazi, who became obsessed with giant shoes after he’d learned that his grandfather had once owned a wingtip worn by Robert Wadlow, the world’s tallest man. 85 Pike Street, Seattle, WA 98101, U.S.A.
- Gucci Garden - since 2011. "The House debuts the Gucci Garden inside the historic Palazzo della Mercanzia, which housed the Gucci Museo. Conceived by creative director Alessandro Michele, the newly designed space features a store with one-of-a-kind items, the Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura - a restaurant by three-Michelin-star chef - and the Gucci Garden Galleria exhibition rooms curated by critic Maria Luisa Frisa. Divided into a series of themed rooms, the Gucci Garden Galleria narrates the House’s new vision while celebrating the archives including old advertising campaigns, artisans’ images, retro objects." Piazza della Signoria, 10, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy.
- International Wooden Shoes Museum - since 1990. "Welcome to the International Wooden Shoes Museum, where wooden shoes come to life! Our collection comprises more than 3,000 pairs of clogs and other footwear with a wooden sole from more than 45 countries, making it the largest and most extensive collection in the world. We have hundreds of tools, single machines and a wealth of information material. For young and old, alone or in a group." Wolfhorn 1a, 9761 BA Eelde, Drenthe, The Netherlands.
- La Galerie Dior - since 2022. "Enter the 30 Avenue Montaigne, which Christian Dior compared to a beehive and where the Dior myth was born 75 years ago! Discover the historical landmark." It presents the history of the storied house of Dior and is adjacent to the Dior flagship store located at 30 rue de la Montaigne. The museum was designed by the American architect Peter Marino - fashion's go-to architect. 11 Rue François 1er, 75008 Paris, France.
- Levi Strauss Museum - Geburtshaus Buttenheim - since 2000. "In the Levi Strauss Birthplace Museum in Buttenheim, Upper Franconia, everything revolves around the most famous pair of trousers in human history. The house where the jeans inventor was born still exists. It was built in the 17th century, was rebuilt several times and is one of the oldest buildings in Buttenheim. Levi Strauss lived on the ground floor with his parents and six siblings. Since September 2000, the small half-timbered building has housed the Levi Strauss Museum, which has since won several awards." Geburtshaus Levi Strauss Museum, Marktstr. 31-33, 96155 Buttenheim, Germany.
- MAISON DES CANUTS - since 1970. A living museum that reveals the richness and quality of the silk industry in Lyon, France. 10 Rue d'Ivry, 69004 Lyon, France.
- MARIKINA SHOE MUSEUM - "Home of the World's Largest Shoe" and recipient of 749 pairs of shoes donated by former first lady Imelda Marcos. The museum holds shoes of several famous people including a pair of shoes from each president of the Philippines in chronological order. Other shoes note worthing are those of celebrities, ambassadors, political figures and even traditional shoes from several countries. Shoes both made in Marikina and made abroad with different brands, styles, shapes and colors are all on display. A huge portrait of Imelda is also hanging above serving as a mini-shrine for her shoe collection below. 315, 1800 J. P. Rizal St, Marikina, 1800 Metro Manila, Philippines.
- MoMu - Fashion Museum Antwerp - "MoMu houses the largest collection of contemporary Belgian fashion in the world and stands out with its immersive fashion exhibitions." MoMu is the fashion museum of Antwerp in Belgium. Founded 2002, the museum collects, conserves, studies and exhibits Belgian contemporary fashion. The museum is known for its immersive scenography. Visitors are "immersed in the world of the designer or the theme", allowing for a unique experience with every exhibition. MoMu organises continually changing theme exhibitions about a designer or fashion-related theme in an exhibition space specifically adapted to each exhibition. Each exhibition is created around a total narrative in which not only articles of clothing are displayed, but a complete context is presented. Nationalestraat 28, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium.
- MusÉe des Arts DÉcoratifs Paris - since 1905. "Les Arts Décoratifs is a state-approved not-for profit private organization founded in 1882, in the wake of the Universal Exhibitions, when a group of collectors banded together with the idea of promoting the applied arts and developing links between industry and culture, design, and production. An original, multi-faceted institution, Les Arts Décoratifs pursues the objectives it was given at the outset: 'to keep alive the culture of the arts in France which seek to make useful things beautiful' and to maintain close links with industry, forging numerous partnerships in various fields." 107 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France.
- MusÉe Yves Saint Laurent Marrakesh - since October 19, 2017. "A museum entirely devoted to the work of the legendary fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent in Marrakech, Morocco." Rue Yves St Laurent, Marrakech 40000, Marocco.
- MusÉe Yves Saint Laurent Paris - since October 3, 2017. "The Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris exhibits the couturier’s body of work on the legendary premises of his former haute couture house." 5, avenue Marceau, 75116 Paris, France.
- MusÉe Suisse de la Mode - "Créé en 1982, le MuMode est le seul musée consacré entièrement à la mode en Suisse. Le Musée suisse de la Mode propose des expositions temporaires, des visites de ses réserves, ainsi que des événements et des ateliers." Le Château, 1400 Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland.
- Museo Rossimoda della calzatura - since 1995. (Rossimoda Museum of the Shoe) is located in the town of Stra in the Province of Venice, Italy. The Museum houses more than 1,500 models from fashion designers all over the world. Via Doge Pisani, 2, 30039 Stra VE, Italy.
- Museum of Costume & Fashion - "The Museum of Costume and Fashion (formerly known as the Costume Gallery) is located in the Palazzina della Meridiana next to the southern wing of Pitti Palace. Started under Grand Duke of Tuscany Peter Leopold by architect Gaspero Maria Paoletti in 1776 and completed in 1830 by Pasquale Poccianti under Grand Duke Leopold II, the building takes its name from the astronomical instrument made by Vincenzo Viviani in 1699. The instrument is in the vestibule - with the gnomon pinhole - of Grand Prince Ferdinando de’ Medici’s apartment. Anton Domenico Gabbiani depicted the Allegory of Time and the Arts (1693) in the vault of the vestibule. All the successive dynasties, from the Habsburg-Lorraine family to the House of Savoy, including the regency of Maria Luisa of Parma and the brief reign of Elisa Baciocchi, left their mark on furnishings and decorative wall paintings. Founded in 1983, it was the first State museum in Italy dedicated to the history of fashion and its social significance. Displayed in rotation for conservation reasons, its collections include clothes, jewellery and accessories from the 18th century to today, along with a captivating group of stage costumes worn by movie, theatre and opera stars in works helmed by reknowned 20th-century directors. Among ancient garments, the 16th-century funeral clothes of Cosimo I de’ Medici, Eleanor of Toledo and their son Garzia de’ Medici have been completely restored and are part of the permanent collection on display." Piazza de' Pitti, 1, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy.
- MUSEUM OF LONDON | Dress & textiles collection - since 1911. "The focus of this collection is clothes and textiles made, sold, bought and worn in London from the 16th century to the present. The collection ranges from garments made at home to those produced in the studios of London couturiers, from gowns worn at grand occasions to clothes worn every day. The dress collection at Museum of London is internationally recognised for its quality and diversity." There are over 24,000 objects in the collection, dating from the Tudor period to the present day. 150 London Wall, Barbican, London EC2Y 5HN, U.K.
- Museum of the City of New York’s Costume & Textiles Collection - since 1923. "One of the foremost repositories of New York City-centric attire, and is distinguished by its interpretation of clothing not only as a medium of aesthetic merit but as one of social commentary. The approximately 26,000 object collection reveals the city’s singular character and evolution as national fashion capital, and reflects the distinctive personalities and aspirations of New Yorkers themselves. The Collection’s holdings betray the relentlessly aspirational nature of New York City style, and enhance the public’s appreciation for the impact of the city’s social landscape on its mode of attire." 1220 5th Ave, New York, NY 10029, U.S.A.
- Northampton Museum & Art Gallery - since 1865. "Northampton Museum and Art Gallery is home to one of the largest collections of shoes and shoe heritage in the world. Arts Council England designates the collection as being of local, national and international importance." The collection's strength lies in its very broad range, from ancient Egypt to the latest fashions, from workwear to high-end designer creations and from Northamptonshire-made shoes to footwear from around the world. Our shoes are defined by the people that wear them. We tell these footwear stories. The collection contains: More than 15,000 shoes. 4-6 Guildhall Rd, Northampton NN1 1DP, U.K.
- Palais Galliera | Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris - since 1895. "After the success of 'A History of Fashion', our second collections tour will open to the public in June 2023. This next collections tour will be an opportunity for you to discover a new history of fashion, from the 18th century to the present day, through our exceptional collections presented in a new theme dedicated to the body in motion. The link between fashion and sport will be the subject of the second display of this new collections tour, echoing the Olympic Games that will be held in Paris in 2024." 10 avenue Pierre Ier de Serbie, 75116 Paris, France.
- Salvatore Ferragamo Museum - since 1995. "Museo Salvatore Ferragamo is a company museum dedicated to the history of the Ferragamo company, the life of its founder and his creations." The museum contains 10,000 models of shoes created and owned by Ferragamo from the 1920s until his death in 1960. Piazza di Santa Trinita, 5R, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy.
- Simone Handbag Museum - 300 bags are on display at the museum, dating from 1550 to the present day. The collection was assembled at a cost of £1 million. Most of the handbags are European in origin, with some contemporary bags from the United States. 536-17 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea.
- SONS | SHOES OR NO SHOES - since 2005. "Almost every human being owns a pair in one or another execution. On the one hand this universal object leads a visitor of SONS through all ethnic cultures and peoples, from the first foot-covered footsteps of humans till today. On the other hand through the world of modern art, highlighted out of a surprising perspective." Specializes in ethnographic shoes, or shoes with special cultural significance. On 19 September 2006, The Guinness Book Of World Records confirmed that William "Boy" Habraken collected the largest collection of tribal and ethnographical shoes in the world. The museum houses this collection and a design collection of known shoe designers such as André Perugia, Salvatore Ferragamo, Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik. Vandevoordeweg 2, 9770 Kruisem, Belgium.
- THE COSTUME INSTITUTE - since 1937. "The Costume Institute's collection of more than thirty-three thousand objects represents seven centuries of fashionable dress and accessories for men, women, and children, from the fifteenth century to the present. The redesigned Costume Institute space reopened in May 2014, after a two-year renovation, as the Anna Wintour Costume Center with the exhibition Charles James: Beyond Fashion. The complex includes the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery, the main showcase space with a flexible design that lends itself to frequent transformation with video, sound, and wireless technology. The Center also includes the Carl and Iris Barrel Apfel Gallery to orient visitors to The Costume Institute's exhibitions. Behind the scenes is a state-of-the-art costume conservation laboratory; a study/storage facility to house the combined holdings of The Costume Institute and Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection; and The Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library, one of the world's foremost fashion libraries." At the Metropolitan Museum, 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10028, U.S.A.
- the Museum at FIT | FASHION INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY - since 1944. "The Most Fashionable Museum in New York City." Best known for its innovation and award-winning exhibitions, the museum has a permanent collection of more than 50,000 garments and accessories dating from the eighteenth century to the present. 227 W 27th St, New York, NY 10001, U.S.A.
- THE SHOE MUSEUM - Street, Somerset, England. Exhibits shoes dating from the Roman era to the present day. The museum includes the first clogs worn by Gracie Fields and the wedding shoes of Diana, Princess of Wales. England exhibited shoes dating from the Roman era to the present day. The museum closed on 27 September 2019, and its artefacts will be transferred to the nearby Alfred Gillett Trust. 40 High St, Street BA16 0EQ, U.K.
- TUSPM SHOE MUSEUM - since 1976. At Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Includes roughly 900 pairs of shoes, 250 of which are on display on the sixth floor of the TUSPM main building. The displays focus on the question of why people wear shoes. 148 N. 8th Street, Philadelphia PA 19107, U.S.A.
- VICTORIA & ALBERT MUSEUM | V&A - since 1852. "Spanning five centuries, our Fashion collection is the largest and most comprehensive collection of dress in the world. Key items in the collection include rare 17th century gowns, 18th century ‘mantua’ dresses, 1930s eveningwear, 1960s daywear and post-war couture. 47,965 objects." Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL, U.K.
- VIRTUAL SHOE MUSEUM - Initiated by Liza Snook in 2004. "The VirtualShoeMuseum aims to present Shoes and its designers in a new and fresh environment, focused on exploration, surprise and awe." As of May 19, 2023: 2556 shoes. Columbusstraat 108, 2561 AR Den Haag, The Netherlands.