HomeFashionDesigners Charles & Ron donate iconic dress to Heritage Malta

Designers Charles & Ron donate iconic dress to Heritage Malta


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Renowned local designers Charles and Ron Van Maarschalkerweerd Borg, the creative minds behind the fashion label Charles & Ron, have donated a dress made for the prestigious Commonwealth Fashion Exchange to the national collection.

Charles and Ron were recently invited to the Inquisitor’s Palace, where they explored the national costumes and textiles collection, gaining insight into Malta’s rich cultural history.

Following this, the designers visited Heritage Malta’s textile conservation laboratory at the agency’s head office in Bighi, Kalkara. Guided by the conservation team, they were given an exclusive tour of the state-of-the-art facility, which preserves and restores Malta’s textile heritage.

The donated dress, an exquisite piece designed for the 2017 Commonwealth Fashion Exchange, symbolises the unity and creative prowess of designers across the Commonwealth’s 53 countries.

Made from Woolmark-certified wool crepe, the dress features a full, floor-length skirt with appliqué Maltese door knockers beaded and embellished by Mumbai-based designer Khushboo.

The coordinating blouse features Maltese lace, and the ensemble is completed with a hand-tooled leather belt. The piece is also listed on Google Arts & Culture, a platform which features content from over 2000 leading museums and archives: https:// artsandculture.google.com /story/DwXhEd4ajOMqJg.

Charles and Ron said they were honoured to donate the dress to Heritage Malta, knowing that it will be expertly taken care of and preserved for future generations. They pointed out that the dress symbolises their commitment to Maltese heritage and design, and after being exhibited at Buckingham Palace, FIT New York and The Royal Ascot, they were delighted that it will now find its place as a permanent part of the Malta national collection.

Claire Bonavia, Heritage Malta’s principal conservator for textiles and paper, emphasised that this type of donation enriches the national collection by including works from local designers − a novelty. She said: “The role of the conservator is to preserve this dress in the most ethical way possible so it can be enjoyed in the future.”

Anna Maria Gatt, Heritage Malta’s costumes and textiles curator, added that along with being treated, “the narrative of the dress will be documented, made available for education and outreach programmes, research, publications and possible temporary exhibitions. In line with other donations, this clearly indicates that Heritage Malta does not only safeguard the past but also present-day treasures, for future generations”.

Heritage Malta CEO, Noel Zammit, expressed his gratitude.

“This generous donation by Charles and Ron significantly elevates our country’s national collection. It is a testament to the global impact of Maltese design which, as part of our cultural fabric, Heritage Malta vows to continue to act as a shield and promoter of,” he said.

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