18th-Century Style Paper Dress, paper and construction designed by Edward Maeder, Historic Deerfield, Inc, photography by Penny Leveritt

Art Is in Fashion at the Clark this Fall

For Immediate Release

September 26, 2001

"The Art of Fashion" is the theme for a Sunday afternoon lecture series at the Clark Art Institute this October. The series begins on Sunday, October 7, at 3:00 p.m., with the talk "Paper Dresses: An 18th-Century Fantasy" by Edward Maeder, curator of textiles at Historic Deerfield. In 2000, Maeder created ten full-size reproductions of 18th-century gowns made entirely of paper. Maeder will discuss his inspiration for the project and show how he used cardboard egg cartons, tissue paper, doilies, napkins, paper towels, coffee filters, and Bingo markers to make the garments. Admission is free.

Maeder conceived of the exhibition to showcase the finery that American women would have worn to fancy dress balls in the 1700s. While Historic Deerfield has a 10,000-piece antique textile collection, the originals can only be shown in low light for brief periods for conservation reasons. The reproduction dresses allowed Maeder to present a special holiday display without taxing the original collection. Maeder and a small team of volunteers spent more than 400 hours making the imitation brocade, damask, chintz, lace, and embroidery for the dresses. His creations were featured in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and on the television program Martha Stewart Living.

The series will continue on October 14 with the lecture "Hollywood Dressed and Undressed" by collector and author Sandy Schreier, who owns more than 10,000 museum-quality pieces of 20th-century fashion. On October 21, Harold Koda, curator of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will give the talk "Haute Couture: Irreality and Seduction." All three lectures are at 3:00 p.m.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free through May.  For more information call 413-458-2303 or visit

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