Saturday, May 6, 2023


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Installation view of Generation Paper: A Fashion Phenom of the 1960s at Museum of Arts and Design (@MADMuseum)

With a stroke of luck (and a stock of Dura-Weave or Reemay), mass marketing created a fleeting fashion fad of the 1960s. Perhaps moderately eclipsed by the socio-political and cultural events of the time (Space Race, counter culture, civil rights, politics), disposable dresses-- in prints, plaids and plain--are the highlight of the MAD Museum's latest fashion exhibit, Generation Paper: A Fashion Phenom of the 1960s. Eighty rare garments and accessories are showcased alongside insightful commentary in a full-floor exhibit. Keep reading for a look inside...   

Maximalist prints on minimalist styles
Originally introduced in 1966 by Scott Paper, consumers could own a paper garment with $1 and a coupon printed on Scott product packaging. Paper dresses soon became popularized and manufactured by multiple brands. A Line and "shift" dresses made of paper were worn casually, at the beach, at clubs and even in bridal parties. Though less popular, mens and children's styles became available as well. The "iconic silhouettes and styles of 1960s fashion—from A-line mini dresses to bikinis—became daring demonstrations of the durability and design potential of the era’s innovative paper-like materials, such as rayon (a cellulose fiber), polyester, and other synthetic blends" (source).  

Vibrant prints by Moda Mia and Draper

Each unique piece in this exhibit embodies its own stand-out story. My personal favorites include the Mars of Asheville purple plaid dress from a party kit--with the matching placemat and napkin set, the TWA and British Overseas Airways Corporation disposable hostess uniforms and the three rare dresses from Harry Gordon's 'Poster Dresses' series that double as wall art. Like the garments, the age of the disposable dress didn't last long. By the 70s, the 'wastebasket' boutique trend of the 60s had gone by the wayside.The exhibit is worth a visit for the education and close up of a roundup of rare paper fashions, all in one place. Generation Paper: A Fashion Phenom of the 1960s is show at the Museum of Arts and Design until August 23rd.   

Silver Beau Monde Metallic-laminated polyethylene dress | Gold Jewel Tea Company lustre weave jacket + belt + dress

Pink and white paper dress by Wippette

Adult and children disposable garments... and even beach wearables!

[Center] Mars of Asheville Yellow Pages AT&T Dress (1968)

[R] Caftan sold under the "Candy Wrappers" brand

Packaging for the disposable garments

Installation view; dresses made of Printed Reemay (spunbonded polyester by DuPont)

[L] Elisa Daggs TWA First-Class Foreign Accents Dress and belt | [R] Joseph Love, Inc. BOAC Air Hostess Uniform Confetti Collection Dress (both 1967)

3 pieces from Harry Gordon's Poster Dresses series. These paper dresses could be worn, or hung on walls like posters!

Mars of Asheville Waste Basket Boutique Dresses (1966-68)

Beyond A-Line, there was a popular shoulder tie style!

James Sterling Paper Fashions (1966-1968)

Introductory wall for the exhibit

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