Haute Couture Industry Flourishes at The 60th Venice Biennale

Traditionally a beacon for the avant-garde art world, the 60th Venice Biennale now also stands as a runway for haute couture's latest visions. From Burberry to Tod's to Louis Vuitton’s and Setchu x Davies & Son, the show blurs the lines between art and fashion more and more.

Haute Couture Industry Flourishes at The 60th Venice Biennale

Thought Venice Biennale was just for art obsessed? Think again. Although this year's exhibition will, of course, gather many art aficionados overseas, let's not forget haute couture's burgeoning stake in what once was an exclusively art-only fair. As Burberry take to the stage by continuing their support of the British pavilion for the second year running, Tod's have replaced Bottega Veneta in backing the fair's native Italian pavilion. Louis Vuitton — a brand that has long taken pride in championing artists via many collaborations with the likes of Jeff Koons, Yayoi Kusama, Cindy Sherman and more — will also make their presence known thanks to their exhibition Je Est Un Autre with artist Ernest Pignon-Ernest, conceived especially for the Espace Louis Vuitton Venezia. Then you have designer Satoshi Kuwata's LVMH Prize-winning brand Setchu, who has tapped Savile Row's Davies & Son to create a total of three non-gender looks that will be unveiled at the Biennale in an installation featuring an array of Japanese objects. 

The 60th edition of the prestigious Venice Biennale contemporary art exhibition runs from April 20 to November 24, exploring the theme Stranieri Ovunque — Foreigners Everywhere under the curatorial vision of Adriano Pedrosa, the first Latin American to lead the Biennale as artistic director. Here's The Rake (fashion) in-the-know guide to the 2024 show.

Burberry For The British Pavilion

This year, filmmaker John Akomfrah will represent Britain at the Biennale with his multidimensional sonic exhibition Listening All Night To The Rain. Continuing the artist's investigation into themes of memory, migration, racial injustice and climate change with a focus on 'the act of listening and the sonic', the exhibition, supported by returning headline partner Burberry, reflects Akomfrah's collaged storytelling, forming connections between different geographies and time periods. Although Burberry's Venice Biennale support alone doesn't signal a total art reset for the British brand, it anchors their name in the contemporary art scene that fashion seems to be chasing at a quickening pace.

Tod's For The Italian Pavilion

When it comes to luxury, elegance and craft in fashion, many look to Italy as the beacon. One true pillar is Tod's, who announced their partnership with the Italian pavilion last month. Though 2024 marks Tod's first Biennale alignment, the brand has previously established itself as a cultural supporter through projects like 2022's Aria d'Italia and 2023's artisanal Milan Design Week installation by Tim Walker. This partnership aligns Tod's with Massimo Bartolini's exhibition Due qui / To Hear, investigating estrangement within relationships and the self.

Foundation Louis Vuitton

You'd be hard-pressed to find a brand more committed to championing artists worldwide than Louis Vuitton. From the iconic graffitied Sprouse bags to Takashi Murakami's Monogram Multicolore, LV's arts patronage is unmatched. This year, they take it further with Je Est Un Autre by Ernest Pignon-Ernest at Espace Louis Vuitton Venezia. Part of the Fondation Louis Vuitton's Hors-les-Murs program, it features works representing migrant poets like Anna Akhmatova and Forough Farrokhzad alongside Pasolini, Rimbaud and Genet.

LVMH's Setchu X Davies & Son

Last but not least is LVMH Prize-winner Setchu, unveiling three non-gender looks in a collaboration with Savile Row's Davies & Son: a black herringbone suit, a long jacket ensemble, and a white cashmere coat with trousers. Accompanying the looks is an array of Japanese objects, highlighting Setchu's fluidity between abstract and pragmatic language. Founded by Satoshi Kuwata, Setchu excels in the space, bridging excellence and modernity - its origami artisanal details exemplify true 'savoir-faire.'