Art / Luxury / Fashion

From the photoshoot to the catwalk, learn about the fascinating history and contemporary relationship between art, luxury, and fashion.


Students enrolled in this online Exploration course will survey both the historical and contemporary relationships between art, luxury, and fashion. Guided by expert educators and leaders in the field, our Exploration courses focus on the intersectionality between topics in a dynamic virtual environment that balances a variety of expert-led live sessions with self-paced modules.


This course will cover historical examples from the Bauhaus and Surrealism, as well as Modernist movements such as Pop, Punk, and Op Art. Students will learn about recent collaborations between celebrity artists and famous labels, such as Yayoi Kusama, Richard Prince, and Takashi Murakami for Louis Vuitton; and Jeff Koons for Lisa Perry. Students will learn what defines luxury and what role luxury plays in these collaborations. The virtual classroom allows students to explore extraordinary fashion collections and museums worldwide with scholarly guidance from their teachers. In addition to these guided sessions, students will engage in self-paced activities, including designing their own fashion collections inspired by art movements of the past, as well as an exercise in branding in which they will critically examine the omnipresence of logos in our society (and in their closets).


Our multidisciplinary approach to learning encourages students to sample different fields and employ critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills. Designed and led by industry experts with extensive online teaching experience, the course’s live video sessions and interactive activities will engage students in an exploration of their passions and help them prepare for college. The Explorations program is curated to give students a newfound sense of direction for their future studies by shedding light on a diverse selection of subject material.


Virtual site visits may include:

• The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
• The Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology
• The Museum of Art and Design’s studio program
• Fashion ateliers of established designers worldwide
• Luxury brand stores worldwide


Global guest speakers may include:

• Fashion designers
• Fashion critics
• Fashion industry insiders
• Luxury brand marketers
• Retired supermodels
• Curators
• Artists


Self-paced activities and projects may include:

• Virtual visit to the Fashion Museum of Paris, Palais Galliéra
• Virtual guided tour of world-renowned art galleries, such as David Zwirner’s online viewing rooms
• Analyzing the power of branding and logos
• Designing a fashion collection



  • Kathy Battista is a scholar and a curator of exhibitions in international museums and galleries, as well as a lecturer at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, both in person and online. Most recently she curated The Art of Fashion at Fountain House Gallery in New York. She holds a PhD from London University and an MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art. Battista taught Art/Luxury/Fashion for Sotheby’s Summer Institute-Pre-College in 2019.
  • Nathalie Khan (co-instructor) is a cultural historian who specializes in fashion history, theory, and the impact of fashion on digital film and television. Her work addresses the intersectionality of fashion and new media. Her recent projects include curatorial work with the International Festival of Fashion and Photography. She has taught and lectured extensively both in person and online at numerous institutions, such as Central Saint Martins, London College of Fashion, NYU London, and Sotheby’s Institute of Art.



Tech Fee: $75


Please note: This information is subject to change at any time at the discretion of Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

Term Dates

Term dates and course availability depend heavily on instructors’ schedules.

  • Term 1 June 8 to June 19 Term Closed
  • Term 2 June 22 to July 3 Term Closed

All courses are open to rising 10th – 12th graders and graduating seniors. Explore the full online summer schedule.

View Summer Schedule

What is an Exploration?

Explorations are designed to introduce students to three distinct topics in a two-week Institute term. This survey approach to learning enables students to make cross-disciplinary connections and informed decisions about their academic and career choices.

Course Highlights

Summer Institute enables students to dive deep into a course of study, sharpening skills for their academic and professional careers. Each course is carefully designed to suit student interests and encourage intellectual curiosity.

  • 1

    Art: Students will receive a broad overview of the major modern and postmodern movements of art that have most influenced the relationships between art, luxury, and fashion. Students will examine the careers of artists who have most famously collaborated with fashion designers and luxury brands: Salvador Dalí, who collaborated with designer Elsa Schiaparelli; Yayoi Kusama and Takashi Murakami, who collaborated with Louis Vuitton; Damien Hirst, who worked with fashion designer Alexander McQueen; and more.

  • 2

    Luxury: We have seen a dramatic growth of luxury brands around the world, and the market for art and other luxury goods has evolved to answer the increased demand from sophisticated buyers and art connoisseurs. Students will explore when the concept of luxury was first articulated, who the consumers were historically, who they are today, and how the digital marketplace has affected the production, sale, and marketing of luxury goods, such as jewelry and handbags. Through virtual tours of private luxury house collections, students will analyze artists as international brands, artists’ partnerships with luxury companies, and the patronage of the arts by luxury companies online.

  • 3

    Fashion: From the atelier to the runway, students will explore the intersecting disciplines of fashion and art. Through virtual studio visits, students will examine how artists use fashion as an element of their practice, from self-portraiture to major collaborations with fashion houses, and how (and to what end) major fashion brands commission artists. How do artists use clichéd tropes from fashion — from the photo shoot to the catwalk — to address contemporary cultural issues? Virtual tours of fashion houses, such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Prada will allow students to explore how these brands monetize artists’ work and to what effect.

Summer Institute Faculty

Our instructors are award-winning Sotheby's Institute faculty, recognized thought leaders and professional experts in the international art world who have extensive online teaching experience. Each faculty member structures their course around real-time conversations defining their professions and helps students master the unique forces at play in the art world.

Summer Institute Faculty

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