Art / Luxury / Fashion

From the worldwide desire for luxurious exclusivity to the photoshoot and catwalk populated by new talent, learn about the fascinating history and cutting-edge intersection between art, luxury, and fashion.


Students enrolled in this Exploration course will survey both the historical and contemporary relationships between art, luxury, and fashion, exploring the historical, geopolitical, and practical aspects of these cross-disciplinary fields. Through a combination of lectures and exclusive site visits, 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 and Jeff Koons for Lisa Perry. Students will learn what defines luxury and what role luxury plays in these collaborations. Participants will discover how street style has always influenced high fashion and how sustainability is no longer just a buzzword in the world of luxury and style but a trend that is here to stay. To ensure a broad knowledge of the fashion and luxury industry, students will also learn about influential designers such as Virgil Abloh, Karl Lagerfeld, Heron Preston, and Miuccia Prada.


Designed and led by industry experts, our Exploration courses focus on the intersectionality between topics. This dynamic learning experience balances lectures, site visits, and world-class guest speakers to engage students in an exploration of their interests and foster their curiosity around a diverse selection of subject material. Our multidisciplinary and hands-on approach to learning encourages students to sample different fields and employ critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills.


Site Visits

Visits will include a combination of trips to major New York City art museums and galleries, luxury brand stores, and other places related to art, luxury, and fashion.


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
  • Art galleries
  • Luxury brand stores


Guest Speakers

Students will hear firsthand from fashion designers, luxury brand marketers, and industry insiders about the topics that shape our understanding of art history and contemporary art production.


In the past, guest speakers have included:

  • Fashion designers
  • Fashion critics
  • Fashion industry insiders
  • Luxury brand marketers
  • Supermodels
  • Curators
  • Artists


Materials Fee: $245

Health Fee: $100


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 18 to June 30 Term Closed
  • Term 3 July 16 to July 28

All courses are open to rising 10th – 12th graders and graduating seniors. Explore the full 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: Serving as the anchor for this course, students will receive a broad overview of the major modern and postmodern movements 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, including Salvador Dalí, who collaborated with designer Elsa Schiaparelli, Derek Adams who recently collaborated with Pyer Moss, and Damien Hirst, who worked with fashion designer Alexander McQueen.

  • 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, art connoisseurs, and tastemakers. Students will explore when the concept of luxury was first articulated, who the consumers historically were, who they are today, and how post-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 they do so.

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

Looking for more information? Download the prospectus

Sign up for updates about our programs, courses and events.