A 116-year-old evening gown in the collection of the New Brunswick Museum exemplifies cutting-edge fashion.
Made of glass fibres interwoven with silk, the floor-length, pale green gown is one of only four dresses in the world made of so-called “moonlight cloth.”
The dress, originally made for the the Exposition Universelle of 1900 in Paris, showcased the sophistication of contemporary glass-making techniques.
While manufacturers had experimented with drawing glass out into long, thin fibres since the 1780s, Peter Larocque, the New Brunswick Museum’s curator of cultural history and art, said the 1900 dress would have been a marvel of its age.
“Turning it into something wearable, bendable and so fine,” said Larocque, “stretched the limits of the path of the material.”
Charlotte Holzer, a PhD candidate at the Technical University of Munich, has travelled to Saint John to study the dress.
She said the example at the museum is unique in that manufacturers “worked with the glass fabric and not in a traditional way of tailoring, which is why it’s in better condition,” said Holzer.
That being said, the dress is still extremely fragile.
Although the thin, hand-drawn glass fibres are flexible, “they are brittle when you apply pressure at one point,” she said.
Holzer, and conservators at the New Brunswick Museum are studying how the the dress might be displayed “in the way it was intended to be worn,” said Larocque.
It’s unknown if or when the dress will be displayed.
The dress is both an aesthetic feat, and an attempt to “stretch the bounds of technology,” said Larocque.
“It speaks to establishing a challenge, and attempting to fulfil it,” he said.
“It also talks about innovation, and new ways to use materials, and stretching the boundaries of what a material is capable of.”
We are angry, frustrated, and in pain because of the violence and murder of Black people by the police because of racism. We are in the fight AGAINST RACISM. George Floyd was murdered, his life stolen. The Adafruit teams have specific actions we’ve done, are doing, and will do together as a company and culture. We are asking the Adafruit community to get involved and share what you are doing. The Adafruit teams will not settle for a hash tag, a Tweet, or an icon change. We will work on real change, and that requires real action and real work together. That is what we will do each day, each month, each year – we will hold ourselves accountable and publish our collective efforts, partnerships, activism, donations, openly and publicly. Our blog and social media platforms will be utilized in actionable ways. Join us and the anti-racist efforts working to end police brutality, reform the criminal justice system, and dismantle the many other forms of systemic racism at work in this country, read more @ adafruit.com/blacklivesmatter
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.