This bikini with a classic Pucci pattern required an interventive treatment and mounting process before it could be displayed in the upcoming exhibition.
The polyurethane foam padding in the bust had severely degraded and had become brittle and powdery. This had caused the bust to become stiff and deformed and the foam had begun to stain the fabric, causing yellowing in the pattern. This is a typical degradation pattern seen in polyurethane foams.
The best course of treatment was to remove the foam from the bust in order to preserve the outer fabric. The inner bust lining stitching was undone and the foam layer revealed that the foam had lost all of its structure and powdered very easily.
It was carefully removed using mechanical and solvent cleaning and a low suction vacuum ensured the last of the powder was removed.
The lining stitching was then stitched back using the original stitch holes
The bikini was made for a bust measuring larger than the mannequin, so bespoke alterations had to be made. To minimise handling and to help the mannequin makers, Proportion London, a toile was made of the bikini.
A temporary form was then made to fit under the bikini to help to visualise the finished shape of the bust.
You can see the finished bikini and other beautiful examples of Italian design from 5 April to 27 July in The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945 – 2014. We’ll be revealing more behind-the-scenes insights on this blog over the next few weeks. Stay tuned!