Kent State University Museum highlights the decorative nature, function of pleating

by April Helms | Special Products Published:

From intricately folded trims to completely pleated skirts, the pleating process has a long history. More than 200 years of that history can be seen at the Kent State University Museum's Pretty Pleats display.

The display includes various styles of pleats on garments and hats from the 1830s to the mid 1990s. One highlight includes a pleated blue silk gown by Mariano Fortuny, said Jean Druesedow, the director of the museum. Fortuny developed a method for pleating that has never been duplicated, she said.

"It remains a secret to this day," Druesedow said. "With the changes in silk now, we will probably never see it duplicated. But many designers, Mary McFadden, Oscar de la Renta, took their inspirations from Fortuny."

Of course, it's not possible to get too close to the garments (and they should not be touched) but those wanting a closeup of the pleats can find a display of photos just outside the Stager and Blum Galleries.

Another interesting feature are examples of fluting irons and plaiting machines patented in the 1860s and 1870s to create those precise folds and intricate pleats.

"These were heated, and the fabric run through them," said Druesedow, describing the labor-intensive process.

The exhibit was originally slated to close in March; however, it will most likely be open at least until June, Druesedow said. Call 330-672-3218 or visit the museum's website at www.kent.edu/museum for the most up to date information.

The Kent State University Museum is at 515 Hilltop Drive and is open Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.; and Sundays from noon to 4:45 p.m. It is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors 55 and older, and $3 for children ages 7 to 18. Children younger than 7 are free, and admission is free for all on Sundays.

Email: ahelms@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9438

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