And, when worn to an event like the Met Gala, an event that’s supposed to celebrate the importance of costume conservation, the incident could set a damaging precedent for conservators and archivists. “Historically, fashion curators, conservators, and archivists have often been pressured to have people wear clothing from these collections,” says Scutarro. “This is something that curators and conservators have really challenged a lot over the years.” She points out that it was only after institutions started noticing damage on historical pieces that costume conservatorship was solidified through organizations like Costume Society of America (CSA) and the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Costume, Fashion and Textiles (ICOM). “We were able as a profession to to minimize the wearing and to try to just stop it,” she says. Despite the fact that experts like Scaturro and Beltrán-Rubio “facilitate the public’s access to cultural heritage,” there are many misconceptions about the importance of conserving fashion, because it’s a relatively new profession that, according to Scaturro, is often seen as less for its ties to consumerism and women.
Last modified: June 15, 2022