By  on December 18, 2007

Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of The Museum at FIT, enjoys telling the story of how she persuaded Tim Long, curator of costumes at the Chicago History Museum, to let her borrow some of his more fragile items for "Chic Chicago: Couture Treasures From the Chicago History Museum." "I can't give you that — it has 'bead disease,'" he said of a black Chanel evening dress that was shedding its ornamentation.

"Our conservators will take care of it," she said — and got it. The FIT museum, of course, has two conservators on staff who were able to fix the black beaded number and any other fraying pieces, such as a splendid Worth tea gown, that she wanted.

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