Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hidden Treasures of the Australian Dress Register

At the moment I currently volunteer in the curatorial department of the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney (which is Sydney’s equivalent of the V&A in London or the MET in New York).
As part of my role there I work on the Australian Dress Register which is an online project that aims to catalogue and research dress in Australian pre-1945 (mainly from regional museums, galleries and private collections that would otherwise have no way to make their artefacts available online).
Over the last couple of days we did two workshops in regional NSW, aimed at looking at their collections and giving them information on how to properly store and conserve their textiles.
Going to these workshops (one with a historical society and other with a regional museum) was like entering a gold mine - all of a sudden Victorian, Edwardian and flapper dresses were coming out of closets left, right and centre!
Here are some pictures of some of the gems we got to see:

Charleston style flapper dress from the 1920s

The Jacket from what I dated to be an Edwardian coat suit due to my general knowledge of the period and the full length skirt that accompanied the jacket. 

It's interesting to note that looking closer at this jacket, the underarms had special flaps of fabric that almost acted as sweat catchers. You could even see old stains from sweat marks on them and the store in which the coat was purchased in England.

A beautiful black lace Edwardian dress, probably ca. 1910-1915.

A wedding dress from 1889 made of cream silk satin and lace.

An orthopedic corset from the early 20th century (probably 1920-1940)

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