Behind the Scenes in Conservation: What Happened Here?

In conservation, sometimes we have to form theories about what might have caused the damage to an artwork to better decide how it should be corrected.  What happened here?  This collar interior in a Geoffey Beene silk chiffon dress dates from 1964, and according to museum records, was only worn a few times for the runway before entering the museum’s collection in 1966.  Our hypothesis is that this damage was caused by perfume or makeup residues which slowly damaged the delicate silk even while stored safely at the museum, demonstrating how important it is to clean and care for fragile materials.