Today I had the pleasure of pulling some textiles out of storage for a conservation assessment. Let me just say: I adore working with textiles.
Textiles are by no means my specialty; I much prefer furniture. But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a finely embroidered silk or a slick Ionic chiton (the latter, by the way, is a shout-out to costume history students the world over).
We have boxes upon boxes of textiles at the Hermitage — everything from 1920’s flapper dresses to teeny-tiny baptismal gowns to yards (and I mean hundreds of yards) of mysterious upholstery fabric of questionable origin and dubious taste.
In and amongst the landslide of fabric are a few choice pieces, including a handful of dresses that may have been designed for Mrs. Sloane by the “King of Fashion” himself, the great Paul Poiret.
This year’s Mend Our Broken Art exhibit will include at least three of Mrs. Sloane’s finest pieces — two beaded dresses and a pieced velvet opera cape.
All three pieces are in dire need of conservation and will be available for public adoption in May. Ever dreamed of owning a Poiret gown? Well, this might be your chance. I’m not saying you can take it home… but you will sleep well at night knowing that your gown is clean, repaired and stored safely in an acid-free box.
I know, I know: that is THE DREAM.
I promise to share more textile images in the weeks to come. And who knows? Maybe I’ll throw some furniture in the mix for good measure.