V&A joins Google’s virtual fashion exhibition ‘We wear culture’

London design and art museum Victoria & Albert has teamed up with Google Arts & Culture to create a virtual exhibition of some of its most fascinating pieces including a controversial 1990 Vivienne Westwood corset.



The collaboration is part of Google’s ‘We wear culture’ project, which has secured over 180 partners including renowned cultural institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Palace of Versailles, to create the largest ever virtual showcase of style. 

The project uses state-of-the-art technology to allow viewers to explore 3,000 years of fashion and discover the stories behind the clothes we wear today. 

The V&A’s participation includes a 360° immersive film examining a 1990 Vivienne Westwood corset and the garment’s place within fashion history, four ultra-high resolution ‘gigapixel’ images of garments taken by the Google Art Camera revealing details until now hidden to the naked eye, eight bespoke online exhibitions and more than 5,000 objects on display.

The project allows viewers to zoom in and marvel at the masterful stitches of an 18th century Dragon Robe worn by a Qing Dynasty emperor; get close to a 1937 Elsa Schiaparelli evening coat to explore the connection between fashion and Surrealist art; investigate the Arts and Crafts movement through a 1895-1900 Marshall and Snelgrove evening coat; and consider the unprecedented luxury of British court life through a mantua robe dating to 1755-60.

"We are constantly exploring how new technologies can help bring the V&A’s unrivalled fashion collection to life online. Online visitors can now see the incredible detail of highlights from the museum’s collection, while discovering the tantalising stories behind them in ways never experienced before. Through these revelatory online experiences and exhibitions, we hope viewers will gain a greater understanding of the craftsmanship and design expertise that transforms fashionable clothing into pieces of art," said V&A head of digital Kati Price.

Amit Sood, director of Google Arts & Culture, added: "We invite everyone to browse the exhibition on their phones or laptops and learn about the stories behind what you wear. You might be surprised to find out that your jeans or the black dress in your wardrobe have a centuries-old story. What you wear is true culture and more often than not a piece of art."

The We wear culture platform is available online at g.co/wewearculture and through the Google Arts & Culture app on iOS and Android for everyone.

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