It’s true that fashions come back around! Chenille was hot in 1922 and again in 2022! These 2 textile objects use chenille yarns. They are a beret dated 1923 and a detail from a dress dated about 1924. The beret is in the textile conservation lab this week for minor treatment to prepare it for exhibition later this year. The dress is undergoing a more complex intervention the damaged chiffon skirt. Luckily, the chenille itself is in quite good condition! This is probably at least thanks to its structure: chenille is made by wrapping short lengths of yarn in longer lengths and then cutting the loops that result. The soft tufts we think of as “chenille” are really the cut ends. All that fuzziness helps protect the structural yarns underneath, resulting in a soft, fuzzy fabric that was fashionable 100 years ago and still today.
Beret, 1923, French, silk, chenille, straw, metal threads, Gift of Mrs. E. James Koncel in memory of Roberta Holton Maughs, 1985.252) (Anna Jeanne Hallee (French, 1880-1924), Dress, 1924, France, silk, chenille, Gift of Mrs. James L. Magrish, 1973.13