How The Venice Biennale Became The Hottest Ticket For The Fashion Industry

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Venice Biennale Is The Hottest Ticket For Fashion Luc Castel - Getty Images

New York, London, Milan and Paris might be the usual cities you see on the roster of the annual fashion calendar, but it’s about Venice finds its place on the list. While the Italian city might previously be known among cinephiles for the Film Festival in August and September, now the Venice Biennale is taking over, and this year will celebrate its 60th International Art Exhibition.

Taking place from Saturday April 20 to Sunday November 24, 2024 (it has a pre-opening on April 17, 18 and 19), the exhibition has been curated by Adriano Pedrosa (the first Latin American to curate the Biennale), who is the artistic director of the Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubrian, and the 2023 recipient of the Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence. The seven-month-long event will feature the work and creativity of 331 artists who have focussed on the theme ‘Stranieri Ovunque — Foreigners Everywhere’.


While the art festival will attract many an art buff, the fashion industry has a growing stake in the event, from Burberry’s support of the British pavilion for the second year on the trot, to Tod's replacing Bottega Veneta in supporting the native Italian x. Meanwhile, Louise Vuitton is presenting an exhibition titled Je Est Un Autre with artist Ernest Pignon-Ernest.

From the biggest luxury fashion brands’ presence to the best shows to keep an eye on, here’s how the fashion world is taking over Venice Biennale more than ever:

Aindrea Emelif is curating the Nigerian Pavilion

ELLE UK's contributing editor and historian Aindrea Emelife, the British-Nigerian curator behind the second-ever Nigerian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2024, has gone from becoming a Financial Times columnist (aged just 20) to becoming the curator of modern and contemporary art at the Museum of West African Art (MOWAA).

Speaking to Wallpaper ahead of the Biennale, Emelife said of the exhibition’s importance: ‘[We] need the representation of African pavilions in Venice. I think the idea of ‘Nigeria Imaginary’, [the pavilion exhibition’s theme], is [centred on the] potential of Nigeria, and it fits in with current topics and debate. It […] allows for the wider audience to dream with us.’


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Burberry returns as headline partner of the British pavilion

Filmmaker John Akomfrah is representing Britain at the Biennale this year with a multidimensional sonic exhibition titled Listening All Night To The Rain, which is inspired by the artist's investigation into themes of memory, migration and racial injustice. Returning for its second year as a headline partner is Burberry.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Burberry has supported British art on such a prestigious platform, after it sponsored Sarah Lucas’ retrospective Happy Gas at the Tate Britain and worked with Wayne McGregor on costumes for The Royal Ballet.

During the Biennale, Burberry will also host an in-conversation with Akomfrah and Talk Art podcast hosts Russell Tovey and Robert Diament during the opening week in April.

burberrys john akomfrah at venice biennale 2024
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Foundation Louis Vuitton launches Espace Louis Vuitton Venezia’s exhibition

Louis Vuitton has long and proudly shown off its championing of art (think Takashia Murakami), and this year is launching its Espace Louis Vuitton Venezia’s exhibition titled Je Est Un Autre with artist Ernest Pignon-Ernest. The exhibition is produced as part of the Fondation Louis Vuitton’s Hors-les-murs programme, and will see Russian poet Anna Akhmatova and Iran’s poet and filmmaker Forough Farrokhzhad join the likes of Pier Paolo Pasolini, Arthur Rimbaud and Jean Genet highlight the importance of showcasing international artistic projects.

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Daniel Arsha takes over the Chiesa di Santa Caterina

If you’re into your sci-fi then you’ll love American contemporary artist Daniel Arsham’s Stormtrooper: Rose Quartz Crystallized Bust, which will sit alongside a collection of mosaics, bronzes and paintings. This year, his presentation will be presented at the Chiesa di Santa Caterina in Venice, following previous exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami and the Athens Biennale in Athens, Greece.

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Arne Quinze x Swizz Beatz collaborate on 'Are We The Aliens_'

Music producer Swizz Beatz might be known for his marriage to singer Alicia Keys and music credentials among some, but for the Venice Biennale, he has collaborated with Belgian contemporary artist Arne Quinze on a spatial exhibition titled Are We The Aliens_. The show will be the first to take place at the 16th Century church, San Francesca della Vigna, and is co-curated by Fondation Louis Vuitton advisor Hervé Mikaeloff and art consultant Reiner Opoku.

‘The process of marrying sound to art is a special one,’ Swizz Beatz said in a statement. ‘Creating this sonic experience with Arne Quinze, every second is important, every sound has meaning, the combination takes you on a journey of expression. This will be a Sonic installation for the world to enjoy.’

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Tod's supports the Italian Pavilion

In March 2024 Tod’s announced its official support for the Italian pavilion at this year's Venice Biennale, marking the first time the brand has worked with the festival. Tod’s foray into art most notably began in 2022 when it launched its Aria d’Italia project, which involved the Italian fashion house exploring the personal and professional stories of young Italian artists and crafts people. A year later, it contributed to Milan Design Week with an interpretation of the brand’s codes and DNA by Tim Walker.

The Italian Pavilion’s artist du choix this year is Massimo Bartolini, who has created an exhibition titled Due qui / To Hear, and has been curated by Luca Cerizza.

adriano pedrosa, curator of venice biennale 2024
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Ai Weiwei returns to the San Gimignano

One of the most famous modern artists of his time, Weiwei is returning to the Biennale this year with an exhibition titled Neither Nor. The Chinese contemporary artists will showcase his Lego creations and artworks, with the exhibition marking his return to solo exhibitions at Galleria Continua's esteemed San Gimignano venue in over a decade.

ai weiwei at venice biennale 2024
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