Conserving a PJ Harvey costume

In this ASMR video, watch and listen to Senior Textile Conservator Susana Fajardo as she works on a costume worn by musician PJ Harvey on the cover of her seventh studio album, 'White Chalk'.

ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response – a pleasant tingling sensation beginning on the scalp and moving down the neck, which can be triggered by a delicate or satisfying auditory or visual experience.

Susana carefully assesses the garment, before deciding on an approach for conservation. She inserts padded arms which bring the 'leg-of-mutton' shaped sleeves to life, examines the intentional 'distressed' nature of the piece, and arranges loose threads without losing sight of the original design intention.

Designed and made by Harvey's collaborator Annie Mochnacz, the costume features appliquéd and machine embroidered lyrics from the songs 'Grow Grow Grow' and 'The Devil'.

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See PJ Harvey wearing the dress whilst performing at the Royal Festival Hall in 2007:

PJ Harvey wearing the white dress with leg-of-mutton sleeves and blue embroidered detailing, whilst performing. She sings into a microphone and holds a red guitar.
PJ Harvey performing at the Royal Festival Hall, 2007, England. © Courtesy of Getty Images. Photo: Timothy Cochrane/Photoshot

See the costume in Explore the Collections.
Find more ASMR at the Museum videos in our YouTube playlist.