Over the past three years, several works in the textile collections of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) containing modern synthetic materials have presented conservators with challenges, and many questions. Case studies discussing the deterioration of 1950s evening gowns with decidedly unpleasant odours, to flaking synthetic leather surfaces on Courrges outfits, and the diverse works of Australian fashion designer Jenny Bannister highlight some issues in a collection containing a myriad of modern synthetic materials. The need for a long-term project examining these issues has been identified and is currently in development. By undertaking a survey of works in the collection to identify the presence of synthetic materials and their condition, conservators will enhance current collection data, and in conjunction with curatorial staff, hope to develop appropriate storage, display and treatment plans.

2006 Textiles Symposium, Adelaide
Paper author:
Bronwen Cosgrove