COLD WAR FASHION. TWO CASE STUDIES FROM AN EXHIBITION AT THE VICTORIA & ALBERT MUSEUM
BY ROISIN MORRIS
Cold War Modern – Design 1945-1970 was a major exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in Autumn 2008, the main theme of which explored the influence this period had on contemporary design, architecture, film, popular culture and how a constant state of political uncertainty fostered new and exciting artistic developments.
This paper focuses on the examination, analysis and preparation of elements from costume ensembles by Pierre Cardin and Paco Rabanne. Establishing themselves as prominent designers of the period they were known for their use of new materials and construction techniques to create their ‘Space Age’ look. As well as an ethical discussion, raised by notions that Rabanne’s disk dress could be user-customised, this paper looks at unstable elements within both ensembles. Fourier Transform Infra-red Spectroscopy (FTIR), light microscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) were used to examine and analyse them. Relevant contextual information used to support the analysis also helped to interpret the damage evident and highlight treatment options available.