‘Gone With the Wind’ dresses undergo restoration

‘Gone With the Wind’ dresses undergo restoration

In “Gone With the Wind,” Scarlett O’Hara braved the Civil War in fashion, but the lavish dresses she donned haven’t retained their rich color.

UT’s Harry Ransom Center, where the costumes permanently reside, is working on conservation efforts in hopes that the dresses will be ready for display by 2014.

Last year the Ransom Center raised $30,000 of outside donations for the project.


The center received the dresses in 1981 from a collection from David O. Selznick, the film’s producer. They have not been on display at the center but have been available to scholars.

Vivien Leigh




Vivien Leigh


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The stress of age and gravity wore on the materials, said Ransom Center media coordinator Steve Wilson.

“They were only made to last as long as they were needed for the film,” Wilson said. “I think Selznick realized he had a promotional gold mine. They were sent to various places to be exhibited.”

When the film came out in 1939, Selznick ordered that the dresses tour the country.


Gone with the Wind




Gone with the Wind


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Wilson said travel and dry cleanings done after each stop on the tour resulted in some of the damage the center is researching and hoping to fix.

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