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Subject: Displaying dress

Displaying dress

From: Andrea Tritton <trit0006<-a>
Date: Sunday, October 30, 2005
I am an Applied Museum Studies student at Algonquin College in
Ottawa, Ontario working on a conservation research project, and
hoping to get some insight from those in the field.

My item to conserve is an early Christian Dior day dress, designed
for his 1947 Fall Winter collection.  My aim is to focus on
conservation requirements for the display of this dress. It is made
of black wool crepe, and--here's the tricky part--weighs just over
3kg, most of the weight of which is in the extremely voluminous
skirts (over 26 metres of crepe de laine was used in the dress'

I'm hoping for some insight or suggestions in two areas:

    1.  While I've been able to find information on basic wool
        preservation/conservation, I've only been able to find
        specific information about wool crepe in "Fairchild's
        Dictionary of Textiles". Does anyone know if this kind of
        wool fabric has any specific conservation requirements?
        (e.g. does it stretch more? is it weaker or sturdier than
        other wool weaves? etc.)

    2.  How would you approach the display of a dress that heavy?
        I've already read about providing supplementary support to
        the waist of heavy garments in storage with white cotton
        tape sewn from the waistband and hooked over the hanger - is
        there some similar method for displayed dresses? Everything
        I've seen about mannequins, so far, suggest using the
        undergarments of the period (or at least some semblance of
        them built up in, or added to, the mannequin) to provide the
        proper support. But, as this dress only dates back to the
        late forties, it wouldn't have been meant to be worn with
        petticoats or hoops, as were the historic dresses under
        discussion in the books.

Andrea Tritton
Algonquin College Applied Museum Studies Student

                  Conservation DistList Instance 19:24
                Distributed: Thursday, November 3, 2005
                       Message Id: cdl-19-24-020
Received on Sunday, 30 October, 2005

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