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The cleaning and restoration of a garment: mid-1930's men's suit

The Phoenix Art Museum houses one of the finest collections of American and European couture garments, shoes and accessories in the nation.

The museum's 2007 exhibition, "Automotivated", explored the influence of automotive 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: an off-white men's two piece wool and cotton blend suit from the early to mid-1930's.

At the time of acquisition, the suit was in poor condition: the fabric was highly acidic, the color was a dark brownish-yellow; water and rust stains were visible everywhere, and it had a musty smell. In summary, the suit displayed all the symptoms of poor care and storage over a 75 year period.

After careful evaluation of her restoration options, Dennita Sewell, Curator of Fashion Design at the Phoenix Art Museum, turned to RAVE FabriCARE for help. Her instructions were simple: restore the suit to it's original splendor.

The before and after photos reflect the transformation:

 1930s suit before1930s suit after

The results of our restoration efforts were on display at the museum's Kelly Ellman Fashion Design Gallery from April 14 through September 2, 2007. The suit in question can be seen in the photo below (it's the 7th garment from the left with the carnation in the lapel's button hole).

Phx art museum 1930s suit 

Cleaning so good it belongs in a museum. Really.

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