A certain sense of self satisfaction

During my time at the museum service I have had a couple, what I would call “eureka” moments. For me that is discovering a garment in the collection advertised in a magazine or finding some kind of importance provenance. This happened twice whilst I was working on Little black dress. The first moment was with a dress by the company Susan Small. Whilst searching through copies of Vogues to display in the exhibition I suddenly stumbled across one of the dresses I had picked out! It was a real, goodness me! Moment. Seeing a dress in the collection on a human form really helps to give it a different meaning and helps you to see how it would have been worn at the time.


(its the dress on the left, apologies for the dark pic it was taken after the dress was put into the exhibition!)

The second time this happened to me was during exhibition set up. I was looking at a panel we had borrowed from Brighton museum and suddenly thought, that dress looks familiar. The dress in the image was a long sleeved dress by the company Roter Couture. I had chosen a similar dress to put in the exhibition although our was a shorter dress with short sleeves. I thought I would just check the dress and *see* if it may just happen to be the same dress but altered. Low and behold it was! (The dress has been turned into a short sleeve garment and the hem taken up by at least around 8 inches)

The only problem with the image on the panel was that it was quite small and difficult to see. Thankfully it was dated to 1956. I thought, maybe, just maybe this had come from a Vogue advertisement. So, again I went searching, and found it in the March 1956 issues of Vogue. I was very happy to have this kind of provenance appear again, and even better the dress had its full price and fabric details in the advertisement.




It is little details like this which really help to make exhibitions interesting for the public, all I can say is that I am pleased that my casual flicking turned up trumps on two occasions!

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3 thoughts on “A certain sense of self satisfaction

  1. I understand completely what you mean. I bought a vintage dress some years ago in Kingston-Upon-Thames, 'Kashmoor' a fitted wiggle dress in black crepe from the 1950s, then years later, when I had the fortune to chance upon some old Vogues in a skip (!) I found the advertisment for it in one of them!

  2. It really is an amazing feeling when that happens! I have an extra special "finding a dress" story about a Horrockses dress coming up soon (its taken me rather a long while to write at the moment)

  3. I hada personal experience of this when I suddenly clicked that a dress I own is ossie Clark/celia birtwell. No label, and bought for pennies in the 90s. It's fun when it happens.

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