Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

The world's greatest fashion museum

is in Santiago, Chile:

Yarur's grandfather founded the country's biggest bank, which his father went on to run as president. As an only child, Yarur inherited a fortune large enough to build his museum. But it is his parents' taste in fashion, not evidence of their wealth, that he wanted to preserve. As a prominent socialite and wife of a banker, his mother amassed a covetable collection of designer outfits, all of which she had kept in perfect condition. 'My mother was not a fashion victim, but she liked to dress in a special way,' Yarur, 46, says. In photographs his mother, who died in 1996, bears a resemblance to Rita Hayworth. With wavy, dark hair and voluptuous curves squeezed into silk blouses and pencil skirts, she was extremely glamorous - and she obviously loved to shop. Of the 8,000 pieces in the museum, 500 belonged to her, many of which were bought on her eight-month honeymoon in Europe.

Inside the museum are hundreds of photographs of Yarur's parents, along with home videos taken before Yarur was born: his mother on the beach in a scarlet swimming costume and matching lipstick; his handsome father swaggering towards the camera across the sand; his parents laughing together on holiday. Yarur, who now lives alone in his own house in Santiago, says the films and photographs still affect him. 'Every time I see them I feel sad. I was an only child so I don't have any other family.'

While he was devoted to his mother, as the only son of one of the country's most successful businessmen, and as a quiet, sensitive young man, Yarur found the weight of his father's expectation hard to bear. 'I didn't know what I wanted to do. My father wanted me to work for the bank. It was a very heavy burden.'

It was only after his father died in 1991 that Yarur began to think about creating a museum. 'After my father died, my mother told me that he had once talked about wanting to turn their house into an art museum. After they both died I didn't want to stay in the house, but I didn't want to sell it because of all the memories, and the house itself is quite important architecturally. So I decided to keep it, but to do something with it.'


lagatta said...

It looks lovely, and no surprise considering the style-conscious people of the Cono Sur, (I'm surprised there is no such museum in Buenos Aires) but does it really outclass the fashion museum in Paris, or the V&A? (though the latter is not only a museum of dress and costume).

Those frocks are spectacular.

Miss Janey said...

Wow. Quite an interesting and lovign tribute to his parents adn to style. Miss J would love to visist.