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Your spring/summer wardrobe: consider resuscitating and restoring archived designer garments

The Life and Culture/Fashion section of the Wall Street Journal published an interesting article on March 28, 2010.

In an article entitled " Spring Cleaning Your Wardrobe: What to Save", fashion journalist Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan reminded readers that the far reaches of their closets offered interesting and cost effective opportunities to return long-loved but long-forgotten garments to immediate use.

More specifically, Ms. Tan posited the idea that past season designer garments could be coupled with current season accessories, thereby repositioning those past season garments for spring and summer 2012.

A perfect example of this repositioning strategy was demonstrated to us a few weeks ago.

A client brought in a two piece Celine skirt suit from the early 1990's that had been gathering dust in her closet of past season designer garments.

The white cotton, past season two piece suit, which still fitted her perfectly, was surface printed with a black animal print. In addition, the cotton fabric had been heat pleated prior to the construction of the garment so as to impart an unusual "wavy pleated look".

The client was excited about the possibilities of resuscitating the suit for the spring, especially given the fact that animal, floral and abstract prints are trendy for spring 2012.

The big question was as follows: could we restore the suit to "like new condition"?

The suit presented a number of problems:

  • The suit was rather dingy due to poor dry cleaning in " dirty solvent".
  • The black dye used to create the animal print exhibited poor adhesion to the white cotton fabric.
  • The suit smelt rather musty.
  • The reddish make up around the collar and cuffs was deeply ingrained in the fabric.
  • The suit exhibited oxidized oil stains, caramelized water stains and rust stains that had turned yellow or brown over time.
  • The heat-induced wavy pleats were not water-resistant, meaning that the pleats would "disappear" if a water-based restoration process was required to be employed.
  • The lining of the skirt was urine stained.

We asked the client to leave the suit with us for about two weeks and told her we would call her upon completion of the work.

The following before and after photos reflect the transformation.

BEFORE

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AFTER

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