Usually, clothing is tailored to fit the body. But in the museum, we tailor a body to fit the clothing! Making fashion objects look their best on display involves a lot of unseen work, including preparing mannequins tailored to the clothing they will display. We are preparing several fashion pieces to be included in Simply Brilliant: Artist-Jewelers of the 1960s and 1970s (opening tomorrow Oct. 22), including this Emilio Pucci skirt and jacket ensemble. If you compare these images of the padded and unpadded mannequin, you can start to find the kind of issues that are addressed by careful preparation of the mannequin including a loose waistband, sunken areas of the jacket and undesirable creases. A well-padded mannequin makes the clothing looks its very best and protects it from damage and distortion that can develop over the course of display.
Emilio Pucci (Italian, 1914-1992), Dress: blouse and skirt, fall 1965, cotton velveteen, silk, Gift of Gene Elkus in memory of my beloved wife, Neddie Mae Elkus, 1998.70a-b