On the 5th, The Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum went live. And now, two days later (I know, I know), Musely has a recap of the live press conference and the museum itself.On December 5th, I watched a live stream of the press conference announcing the launch of the Valentino Museum. Anne Hathaway was a funny host – she immediately revealed that she had been at the Kennedy Center Honors in the DC the night before and hadn’t slept – you could tell, she was a bit bumbling, but so beautiful and charming and the perfect spokeswoman for this innovative museum. And that dress she was wearing — so, so, so beautiful.

Anne Hathaway wasn’t the only celebrity to grace the stage. At one point, Anne pulled Hugh Jackman out of the crowd. Franca Sozzani, the Italian editor of Vogue spoke, and Amit Sood, the creator of Google Art Project, compared The Valentino Museum to the Google Art Project and how the Museum’s content is focused on fashion, art and culture. “Immersive experience, go deep into the work of the artist,” commented Sood.

The Valentino Museum is as much about the designer as it is about the designs. Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti held a question and answer after the main presentation. I could not (and still cannot) get over how handsome they both are. Valentino said the museum took over 2 years to establish, while Giammetti added, “we decided that the museum should be free,” and that there is still a possibility of building a physical Valentino museum in Rome.

After I had watched the press conference, and taken two days to digest it, I then went home to view the Museum. It’s a quick (and free) download and install that you can access at http://www.valentino-garavani-archives.org//#.Tt-1HLIk7q4 .

The Museum is clearly laid out. You start in a grand room – beautiful skylight lets in natural-looking light. Along the walls are several galleries to explore, including a library, events, information on the designer, etc. Dresses are in seven galleries, covering over 10,000 square meters and five decades of style. See not only the dresses, but the stories behind them. The room I entered first (and spent the most time in) was “Variations”. Each room was dedicated to a different “variation” or color or design: red dresses, black dresses, animal print dresses. You “walk” past the dresses, stopping and clicking for more information if you’re interested.

It was fun to see a dress I liked, clicking more information and seeing that it was designed in the 1970s – fashion has changed so much, but Valentino is timeless! As you wander through galleries, you’re able to explore details more closely, and can view over 5000 images and more than 180 fashion show videos.

This isn’t a quick browse either – I took around an hour to explore the Museum, and I still haven’t seen everything. The only thing I had trouble with was the navigation – you control where you “walk” and which way you “look” with your computer’s mouse, that was a bit tricky at first, and I almost always ended up looking at the floor or the ceiling.

What an incredible innovation this is! A virtual museum that you can view for free and from anywhere a computer and internet is accessible. I highly recommend checking it out – whether you’re a museum professional, fashion or photography lover, or artist enthusiast.

– Annie Erling Gofus