Textile Information

Nando Messias

What type of textile is this?
Was it produced for a specific use?
I would guess it was produced especially for John Galliano and his Fall 1995 collection.
What material(s) is it comprised of?
The materials label was cut off when I bought this. It is second-hand. The only label left is the designer label.
What are its dimensions?
It is a sample size dress, a UK size 6.
What year (or date range) was it made?
Where was it made (geographical location)?
Not sure.
Was the textile handmade or mass-produced?
Not sure.
Can the textile be attributed to a specific designer, craftsperson or artist or a company that produced the item?
It is a John Galliano dress.
How did you come to own this particular textile?
I saw this dress in a charity shop in Chelsea, on Old Church St., on my way to the Manolo Blahnik shop one day. I didn’t buy it at first, but couldn’t stop thinking about it so decided to go back to get it eventually. By then, it had been reduced to half price and I knew it had been destined to be mine from the beginning.
How would you describe the status of this textile in your lived environment (i.e. do you wear it, store it, display it, use it, etc.)?
I bought it with the intention of wearing it for a performance, but ended up never doing it until this project came along. I took it to the dry cleaners the very day I bought it and it just sat in my wardrobe inside its plastic sleeve for years, waiting for the perfect occasion to come out. I hope to create a performance/exhibition one day with all the dresses and shoes in my collection.
Do you recall what drew you to this textile initially?
I collect satin, bias cut, full-length dresses. What I love about satin is the way it clings to the body; how soft and malleable it is. I love it that it is cold to the touch at first, but as soon as you have it close to the skin, it will warm up quite quickly. Satin is versatile and mercurial in the sense that it will keep you warm when it’s cold and cool down when it’s hot. The fact that it is shiny is also an important factor for me. It is formal and made to be worn in the evening. I associate it with the style of the 1930s, which I am quite drawn to for its effortless elegance.
What further information (if any) would you feel important to add about this textile, either in relation to your interview or more generally?
Satin is high maintenance. It needs to be steamed in order to be worn otherwise it will look wrinkled and messy. It works as a magnifying glass in revealing every part of one’s body since it sits quite closely to the skin. This characteristic gives me a specific posture when I’m wearing it, which I quite like. I need to stand up straight, to avoid sitting down or crossing my legs for fear of wrinkling it. It takes me to an extra-quotidian environment. It feels almost like a second skin so although I am not naked, it makes me feel like I am.