Get Out Your Paper Dress, Gal! – Who Knew?
October 4, 2022 • Hartford, Popular Culture, Who Knew?
Paper dresses

Example of paper dresses from LIFE Magazine, November 25, 1966

…that in 1966 the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford was featured on the popular TV show I’ve Got a Secret.

Actress Arlene Dahl appeared on the show in a dress made of paper, designed by Tzaims Luksus, and valued at $1,000. Also modeled were four other paper dresses from the Wadsworth’s October 22 Annual Museum Ball.

For the event, such notables as Peter Max custom designed paper dress yardage, artists painted solid colored paper dresses for display, and some of the Atheneum’s women designed their own gowns. A description of “The Paper Dress Ball” from the Hartford Courant detailed this not-to-be-missed event:

“Take 93 per cent cellulose wadding, 7 per cent nylon mesh, 700 guests, three dance floors and a 124-year-old art museum…and you have the basic ingredients for one of the most fun-filled, high-styled, fund-raising events to make the Hartford scene…”

This was not the first time the Atheneum hosted a “Paper Ball”, in 1936 the Russian artist Pavel Tchelitchew designed elaborate paper interiors and a paper costume circus parade whose participants included George Balanchine, Alexander Calder and Fernand Léger.

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