Why brands are building archives

type - big idea
Big Idea
sector - media & technology
sector - retail
sector - luxury
Once the domain of museums and libraries, consumers and collectors are building – and selling – their own archives. Now, brands are looking for a way back in

Emilio Pucci

Although the fashion brand Emilio Pucci was purchased by luxury conglomerate LVMH in 2021, the family company has retained full rights to its archive, which it displays in a palazzo in Florence. The 13th-century building, located on 6 Via de’ Pucci, was opened to the public in 2018 and serves as a living archive to the brand’s past and future collections. In addition to preserving the company’s legacy, the building is also a research centre and incubator for special projects. With the ascent of the resale market, the brand is now planning to use the setting to provide authentication services, illustrating how archives can have practical applications beyond knowledge-sharing.

Paco Rabanne

In April 2022, luxury fashion brand Paco Rabanne began selling non-fungible tokens (NFTs) of its vintage designs to raise money to purchase items for its physical archive. The NFTs, which were created in partnership with department store retailer Selfridges, feature 12 opulent designs from Paco Rabanne’s first show in 1966. By developing NFTs of conceptual clothing, the brand is bringing hard-to-wear items into the virtual world, where it will be easier for avatars to wear them. All the proceeds of the sale went towards the brand’s archive, showing how emerging technologies can be used to help fundraise and build historic collections.

Published by:

31 October 2022

Author: Lavinia Fasano and Emily Rhodes

Image: Emilio Pucci Heritage Hub, Italy


Paco Rabanne, France

Fondazione Sozzani

Another noteworthy example of how NFTs could augment the archive is the recent clothing sale of the former editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, Franca Sozzani. Sozzani was at the helm of the Condé Nast publication until her untimely death in 2016 due to lung cancer. Now, clothing from her inimitable wardrobe – which includes items from a vast collection of designers – is on display and for sale in Milan until 30 October. In collaboration with phygital NFT platform SPIN by Lablaco, a special selection of 25 garments will include NFT labels that allow customers to track the ownership of each item and serve as proof of authenticity. All proceeds from the sale will go to the Franca Fund for Preventive Genomics at Harvard Medical School.


In a similar vein, digital museum Arkive is giving memorabilia a Web3 makeover. The decentralised museum has purchased three lacy cloth fans that appeared in pop star Madonna’s performance at the 1990 MTV Music Awards. Vincent Paterson, the director and choreographer of the music video, has held on to the pop artefacts for the past 32 years. 

‘The discovery of a vintage piece is a magical moment. You become the owner of something that is only yours. Automatically you are different, you create your own style and you are inimitable.’
Franca Sozzani

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