Friday, July 12, 2013

Journey of a (Rescuer/)Preservationist

Pour la Victoire, one of my more recent blog addictions, has been running an excellent series on the work of taking responsibility for and rehabilitating a local display of period garments spanning a few generations.  Some of the damage is almost harrowing to see, especially a beaded flapper dress which cannot precisely be brought back to its full beauty, but even as a ruin displays the beauty and ingenuity of vintage seamstress techniques and truly gawk-worthy design.

The science of textile and costume preservation is itself very interesting - not least, because it is a study in both the physical development of the human body over recent time, but also a fairly good lens for attitudes towards our bodies.  It's also not a half bad look at how best to take care of the most delicate of artifacts.  Mankind leaves behind so many fewer of its clothes than its tools and furniture.  Anyone who thinks curation of our clothing past is frivolous could learn a thing or two even from this small microcosm.

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