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Dress (USA)

This is a Dress. It is dated 1966 and we acquired it in 1966. Its medium is paper and its technique is printed on non-woven foundation. It is a part of the Textiles department.

Paper clothes from the 1960s represented the zeitgeist of a generation of Post-WWII consumers interested in affordable, fashionable, and futuristic design. When paper dresses were introduced on fashion runways and as promotional devices, American consumers proved to be an eager market. Unlike durable clothing of the past, the very nature of the fabric, and part of their fad appeal, was disposability. In the late 1950s manufacturers invented technology to produce inexpensive, nonwoven fabrics by binding cellulose (wood pulp) with a synthetic fiber, which were marketed to the public as paper fabric. These novelty garments were quickly and cheaply produced in a range of colors, patterns, and silhouettes. They could be worn a few times, restyled with scissors, and thrown away. At the height of the craze, Mars Manufacturing was reportedly producing over 80,000 paper dresses a week, but by the end of 1968, paper clothes fell out of favor due to concerns of fire safety and ecological pollution.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Waste Basket Boutique.

This object was donated by Edna J. Curran. It is credited Gift of Edna J. Curran.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 94 x 93 cm (37 x 36 5/8 in.)

It is inscribed

On label at neckline: MM Wastebasket Boutique by Mars of Asheville, N.C. Do Not Wash

Cite this object as

Dress (USA); paper; H x W: 94 x 93 cm (37 x 36 5/8 in.); Gift of Edna J. Curran; 1966-78-1

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Dress (USA) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=9 June 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>