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The dress and the power of redress

Henderson, Jane ORCID: 2022. The dress and the power of redress. News in Conservation June (90) , pp. 58-59.

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Yes, I was surprised by the decision to allow the Munroe “naked” dress to be worn to the Met Gala last month. Others have offered a more detailed critique of this situation, but what followed was a very public debate on historic costumes, conservation, museums and the power of artefacts to inspire. I was therefore sad to see the ICOM Costume Committee’s rather stark response to the situation that stated, “historic garments should not be worn by anybody”. A mature profession must be able to offer nuance, to hear, consider and integrate context into its practice. Ethical codes should offer us principles rather than rule books, and to have global application, they must be tested internationally. Although the ICOM Costume Committee offered this as a statement, it was set in the context of the ICOM code of ethics. There are questions to ask to unpack the statement. First a simple one: what is a historic garment? Many families carry clothing between generations, whether it is a christening gown, a piece of lace from one wedding dress to another or—in my family’s case—a child’s kilt passed between family members according to fit. Private people have the right to share, wear and adapt their things. Some things should be in a museum.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: A General Works > AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Met Gala, Monroe, Kardashain, ICOM Costume
Publisher: International Institute For Conservation of Historic and Artisitic Works
ISSN: 1995-2635
Related URLs:
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 10 January 2023
Date of Acceptance: May 2022
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 01:53

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