Explore behind the scenes at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Conservation Laboratory, where objects in the collection and exhibition loans are expertly conserved. In this video, Jessica Regan, assistant curator in The Costume Institute, offers a close look at an American dress from about 1885.
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Jessica Regan: This is an American dress from about 1885. It wasn't as formal as an evening dress, a ball gown. Like many of our 18th-century garments, it's stored flat in our collection, so we don't get a clear sense of the silhouette, but the skirt would have been worn over a bustle. At this date the bustle is at its greatest expanse; it's almost perpendicular to the body. In addition, there's a little silk pillow that's filled with down stitched into the skirt, and this would have given it just a bit of added volume. The bodice would have been worn over a corset, but for a really perfect fit the bodice is also boned.
There is the name and address of the New York dressmaker, Antoinette Crapanche. It is in the late 19th century that we really start to see designers claiming their work. This would have had such an extraordinary impact when a woman walked into a room. It's really sculptural in its effect.
Director: Kate Farrell
Producer: Sarah Cowan
Editor: Sarah Cowan
Cameras: Kelly Richardson, Stephanie Wuertz
Lighting: Dia Felix
Production Assistant: Skyla Choi
Original Music: Austin Fisher
Produced in partnership with Google Arts & Culture