American Marketer

Events / Causes

BMW inserts 7 series into buzz surrounding Italian fashion exhibition

April 7, 2014

Elizabeth Firth Livia Firth arriving at V & A exhibition in BMW 7 series


German automaker BMW is facilitating "The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014" exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, by acting as the fleet for VIP guests.

The exhibition opened April 5 and showcases more than 100 accessories and ensembles from prominent Italian fashion houses. As an innovator in the automotive space, BMW gains additional credibility by aligning itself with innovators elsewhere.

"This is a creative way to get the fashion industry to partner with an automotive company," said Lauren Fix, automotive expert and author of “Lauren Fix’s Guide to Loving Your Car,” Lancaster, NY.

"There is plenty of pressure to have the coolest, in-fashion and trends and this extends to automobiles as well," she said.

Ms. Fix is not affiliated with BMW, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

BMW did not respond by press deadline.

To and fro

The Glamour of Italian Fashion exhibition showcases work from labels such as Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Prada, Valentino, Pucci and Versace.


Valentino posing with models in Rome, July 1967, from the exhibition

An exclusive dinner and preview was held April 1 that was attended by members of Italy's most prominent fashion families and houses.

Some guests included Mr. and Mrs. Nicola Bulgari, Domenico Dolce, Stefano Gabbana, Roberto and Eva Cavalli, Tom Ford, Valentino Garavani, Laudomia Pucci, Angela and Rosita Missoni, Roland Moret and members of the Ferragamo family, according to a brand statement.

BMW inserted itself into the conversation surrounding the revered designers by provided its 7 series to escort the VIP guests during the event's launch.


Elizabeth Taylor wears Bulgari jewellery at the masked ball, Hotel Ca'Rezzonico, Venice, 1967

Vanity Fair notes that the achievements of Italian fashion during the post-war period, when the exhibition begins, were overshadowed by French designers such as Christian Dior. Consequently, the current exhibition sheds light on a crucial yet overlooked time.

The Victoria & Albert captured the atmosphere of the inaugural event with a video.

The launch of The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014

Many of the showcased brands have been promoting their involvement.

Emilio Pucci built momentum for The Glamour of Italian Fashion exhibit by working with Hearst’s Harper’s Bazaar’s United Kingdom imprint to release four limited-edition covers.

The four Emilio Pucci covers grace the April issue of Harper’s Bazaar and will help the London fashion scene fete the opening of the museum exhibit. Harper’s Bazaar has an active partnership with the Victoria & Albert Museum and will likely increase foot traffic to the exhibit by way of its readership (see story).

Also, Italian jeweler Bulgari is strengthening its relationship with the fashion industry by sponsoring the exhibition.

Although a main sponsor, Bulgari promoted its involvement with the museum exhibit on its London hotel and residence property’s Facebook account. Instead of seeming pushy, Bulgari’s use of its hotel to promote the exhibit may persuade guests and enthusiasts to book a stay (see story).

Cultural icons

Fashion labels regularly link up with museums or create their own museums to boost cultural prestige.

For instance, Italian fashion label Gucci created a digital hub for its bricks-and-mortar museum to expand the audience of its art and fashion displays.

The brand has translated the Gucci Museo experience into a dedicated Web site that features images of the exhibitions as well as information about the house’s history. By keeping this Web site separate from Gucci’s main site, the brand has created a singular place to learn about the atelier’s heritage through digital content, spreading awareness and building loyalty (see story).

Also, department store chain Barneys New York partnered on a Parisian exhibit focused on designer Dries Van Noten to showcase its longstanding relationship.

“Dries Van Noten: Inspirations” opened March 1 at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and will run through August, and focuses on many of Mr. Van Noten’s creations and the artistic inspiration that fueled his creative process. Because this exhibit is happening outside the United States, it will enable Barneys to build awareness and create stronger ties with international consumers (see story).

Aligning with such exhibits can also act as a foil that brings out the characteristics of the partnering brand.

"BMW offers style, performance and class a benefit to this segment," Ms. Fix said.

Final Take
Joe McCarthy, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York