It may be difficult to discern in the dim museum lighting, but the front of this bright Pink Dress features the scene of a rocket launch, and was created in 1968 by American graphic artist Harry Gordon at the height of the international space race.
An identical rocket image adorns the dress’ back. This and other screen-printed paper dress designs by Gordon were manufactured by UK-based company Poster Dress, Ltd. Selling for about $3.00 each and fabricated from tissue, wood pulp and rayon mesh, the dress came with the proclamation: ‘Toughness is woven into the non-woven fabric for long, l-o-n-g wear, and should you tire (which is doubtful), just cut open all the seams and hang it on your wall as a mammoth poster.’
In the mid-1960s, affordable, single-use paper clothing enjoyed a burst of widespread popularity when it was introduced to an American market eager for commodities. This Disposable Paper Dress was produced by the North Carolina factory of Mars of Asheville on the occasion of the 1968 presidential election. The surname of Richard Nixon is emblazoned across the garment in red uppercase letters along with alternating blue stars, transforming its wearer into a walking endorsement of the Republican candidate whose tenure as president would encompass the first man on the moon, the withdrawal of US forces from Vietnam, and eventual impeachment and resignation.
Photographed in the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan.