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Spot the differences between the original flag of Brazil (left) and the two “clones” (right)! The original is from a 1933 dress by the designer Elizabeth Hawes. The flags which once covered the dress are badly damaged and each one is undergoing its own unique conservation treatment. The Brazilian flag has lost most of the printed motto in the central motif. To treat this damage, a digital image of the original flag was manipulated using Photoshop. The digital file was then printed onto silk fabric by our friends at the TechStyleLAB at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. The image manipulation process is new for us and a little challenging, so you can see where our first two tries (seen here) are right in some ways, and need more work in others. Eventually pieces of the digitally printed silk will be used to fill in what is lost in the original Brazilian flag. Stay tuned to see how this textile conservation treatment progresses, flag by flag!
Elizabeth Hawes (American, b.1903, d.1971), designer, Flag Dress, linen, silk, Museum Purchase: Fashion Arts Purchase Fund, 2011.31.