What happens when the decadent world of fashion crosses paths with the decay of treasured historic landmarks? Find out here how many of your favourite haute fashion houses have spearheaded amazing architectural preservation efforts around the world.
The most recent of the projects mentioned here is Chanel’s 25-million euro contribution to the restoration of the Grand Palais – an iconic historical landmark in Paris, built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900 and in the past decade playing host to many of Chanel’s Ready-to-wear and Haute Couture. With Chanel’s exclusive sponsorship, this renovation project is slated to start in December 2020, with an estimated completion in 2024 and a partial reopening in 2023.
In line with a long-standing commitment to preserve Paris’s cultural and artistic stature, Chanel is also the exclusive sponsor behind the permanent exhibition spaces to be created in the Palais Galliera, the Fashion Museum of the City of Paris (opening 2019) as well as a new complex for its Paris-based Metiers d’ art, opening at the Porte d’Aubervilliers in 2020.
Fendi is famous for many things, not the least of which its role in the restoration of Italy’s iconic Trevi Fountain in 2015. This passion project by the Rome-based luxury fashion brand made an investment of approximately 2 million euros towards restoring the façade of the beautiful Boroque fountain structure, complete with the addition of a transparent panoramic boardwalk giving visitors (and the occasional catwalk model) close-up access to the fountain’s spritely sprays.
The Italian jewellery brand undertook a 10-month long renovation of the Spanish Steps, the massive travertine and marble staircase linking the Piazza di Spagna and the Piazza Trinita dei Monti in Rome.
Alleviating the degradation of this historic monument, Bulgari paid out a sum of 1.5 million euros in 2016, closely following a similar restoration project in 2015 of the mosaics in the Baths of Caracalla.
Prada is no stranger to preserving culture and arts around the world – the Milan-based fashion house recently announced the opening of Prada Rong Zhai in 2017: a stunning restored early 20th century mansion in central Shanghai that once housed the aristocratic family of Yung Tsoong-King a century ago.
Prada’s other notable preservation projects have included Palazzo Ca’Corner della Regina on the Grand Canal in Venice as well as the Galleria Cittorio Emanuele II in Milan.
Located in the historic Flora Fountain precinct of Mumbai, a stunning five-storey Edwardian-style building stands that once belonged to the Sir Ismail Yusuf Trust. In mid-2017, announced the opening of its first retail outlet in India, housed in this same 51,300 square-foot building, the site of extensive restoration works by local heritage architects and Zara’s in-house team of architects.
Zara’s Mumbai building reportedly uses 30% less energy than an average building of equal size and has applied for the Gold LEED green building status.
When leading luxury retailer DFS announced that its first European store was opening in Venice, few anticipated that the site of this new outpost would be the T Fondaco dei Tedeschi building – a 13th century restored structure that once was the epicentre of East-West trade, damaged by a fire in the 1500s followed by numerous facelifts ever since.
The latest transformation was carried out by architectural firm OMA and interior designer Jamie Fobert, transforming the 7,000 square-metres of space into a 4-storey shopping haven featuring the biggest luxury brands in fashion, watches, jewellery, fragrance, wine and spirits.
7. Tod’s Group
No talk of sizable heritage restoration projects can commence without mentioning Tod’s Group’s five-year project restoring none other than the Roman Colosseum, a major vestige of Italian history. In celebration of the Colosseum’s restoration, Tod’s organised a mesmerising light show and musical concert within the arena in collaboration with the Special Superintendent for the Colosseum and the Rome Archaeological Heritage.