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Brief Published: 30 Oct 2014

Mall Museums: Luxury Retrospectives

Luxury fashion brands Diane Von Furstenberg and Max Mara are both trading heavily on the weight of their brand heritage as a means to attract a mass audience – by installing smaller adaptations of past brand retrospectives in shopping malls.

Belgian-born Diane Von Furstenberg has launched a pop-up shop in Miami's Aventura Mall. It incorporates elements from the American brand's Journey of a Dress exhibition (originally staged in LA in January 2014), which chronicled the iconic wrap dress on which the designer's empire was built.

Condensing the extensive archives of the original show into an easily digestible display, the space features 13 mannequins, six floor-to-ceiling prints of classic patterns from the dresses, and a handful of photographic images, including magazine covers. The pop-up serves as a teaser for a larger permanent store, due to launch in 2015 in the same mall.

Meanwhile, Max Mara has launched The Heritage Project – a travelling exhibition designed by Milan-based architects Migliore+Servetto. It showcases six noteworthy coats from the Italian brand's history, such as a camel-coloured wool coat cut like a casual raincoat from 1959, and a grey cape designed by German fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld in 1972. The exhibition's first stop is a two-week residency at LA's luxury South Coast Plaza mall, where Max Mara also has a store.

The Heritage Project was conceived as a truncated, mobile version of the show Coats! Max Mara, 60 Years of Italian Fashion – an exhibition of photographs and 70 coats that travelled globally between 2006 and 2012. Each item is suspended in a glass cylinder that is frosted on both ends, so that the items appear to be floating in space.

For more on the value of imaginatively revealing brand heritage, see Monetising Brand Heritage and 21st Century Archives: Wising Up to the Heritage Economy. Also look out for our report on the power of providing Insider Access, publishing in November.

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