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 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 Explorations courses focus on the intersectionality between topics. In this course, students will explore the historical, geopolitical, and practical aspects of these cross-disciplinary fields. Through a combination of lectures and visits to museums, fashion ateliers, and luxury retailers, the course will cover historical examples from the Bauhaus and Surrealism, to Modernist movements such as Pop, Punk, and Op Art. Students will learn about recent collaborations between celebrity artists and famous labels, such as Anish Kapoor for Bulgari; Yayoi Kusama, Richard Prince, and Takashi Murakami for Louis Vuitton; Zaha Hadid for Chanel; Hiroshi Sugimoto for Hermès; Rob Pruitt for Jimmy Choo; and Jeff Koons for Lisa Perry. Students will learn what defines luxury and what role luxury plays in these collaborations. Students will also learn about fashion designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Helmut Lang, and Miuccia Prada.


Our multidisciplinary approach to learning encourages students to sample different fields and employ critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills. The program is geared toward students eager to discover their passions, try something new, and prepare for college. From site visits and excursions to lectures by expert practitioners, the Exploration 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.


Site Visits

In the past, site visits have included:

  • 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 emerging and established designers
  • The New York Garment District
  • Art galleries
  • Luxury brand stores


Guest Speakers

In the past, guest speakers have included:

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


Materials Fee: $250


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 7 to June 19
  • Term 2 June 21 to July 3

This summer, we’re offering 14 unique courses for Summer Institute students. All courses are open to rising 10th – 12th graders and graduating seniors. Explore the full summer schedule to learn more about course dates.

View Summer Schedule

What is an Exploration?

Explorations are designed to introduce students to three different fields of work and study 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: Serving as the anchor for this course, 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 some of the 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 modernity has affected the production, sale, and marketing of luxury goods, such as jewelry and handbags. Artists as international brands, artists’ partnerships with luxury companies, and the patronage of the arts by luxury companies will also be discussed.

  • 3

    Fashion: From the atelier to the runway, students will explore the intersecting disciplines of fashion and art. 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? We will look at fashion houses, such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Prada 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 art world. 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

Experience New York

  • New York City New York City

    With New York City as their campus, students will have access to all the city has to offer, attending field trips, site visits and special events.

  • Speaker Series Speaker Series

    Summer Institute students have unique opportunities to connect with the most accomplished artists and art professionals working today.

  • Housing Housing

    Summer Institute students have the option of living on campus in the university dormitories or commuting to class from their local residence.

  • Dining Dining

    University cafeteria-style dining halls serve a wide variety of healthy alternatives for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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