Cleaning and restoring exhibition-quality garments for a museum
By: Stu Bloom
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The Phoenix Art Museum houses one of the finest collections of American and European couture garments and accessories in the nation.
The museum’s 2007 exhibition, “Automotivated”, explored the influence of automobile design (streamlining) on fashion design (form fitting) from the 1930’s to the end of the 20th century. The link between automotive design and fashion design was boosted by French couturiers who often worked with carmakers to create matching ensembles for the car owners who sought to create the ultimate luxury style statement.
One of the items featured in this exhibit was a new acquisition: a men’s two piece, off-white, wool and cotton blend suit from the early to mid 1930’s.
At the time of the acquisition the suit was in poor condition: the fabric was highly acidic, the color was dark brownish-yellow, water and rust stains were highly visible and it had a musty, dank smell. In summary, the suit displayed all the symptoms of poor care and storage over a 75 year period.
The curator of the Phoenix Art Museum then turned to RAVE FabriCARE for help. Her instructions were simple: Restore the suit to it’s original splendor.
The following BEFORE and AFTER photos reflect that transformation:
The results of our restoration efforts were on display at the museum’s Kelly Ellman Fashion Design Gallery from April 14 though September 2, 2007.
The suit in question can be seen in the exhibition photograph above (it’s the 7th garment from the left with the carnation in the lapel’s button hole)
Cleaning so good it belongs in a museum!
What’s been your experience with cleaning and/or restoring museum quality garments, household textiles and/or accessories? Please share your comments below.
Photo credit: ravefabricare.com/Stu Bloom
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