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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Dress Check

by Conservation


CAMConservation , textile conservation , textiles , Fashion Arts & Textiles , Sybil Connelly , dress

This dress is up for consideration to get into a different kind of exclusive party: the museum’s Fashion and Textiles Collection! When an object is selected by a curator to become a member of the collection, one stop in its journey to full-fledged accessioned “museum object” is the conservation lab. Textiles like this are checked for uninvited gate crashers like insects or mold. They also undergo a careful condition check because it’s important for our records to include notes on the condition of an object as it was when it arrived and what might need to be fixed before it is safe to go on display. The conservator here is examining the inside of the bodice, making notes on discoloration, staining, and damage related to its life as a worn object. For fashion objects like this one, some of the unique condition check needs include checking to make sure labels are there and appear original, peeking inside seams and hidden areas, test the closures like zippers and buttons, and examining the interior structural parts of the dress such as boning, waistbands, and petticoats.

Sybil Connelly (b. 1921, d. 1998), designer, Evening dress and belt, 1971, cotton, acetate, rayon, Considered item temporary number 20/21.40:2