Wikipedia isn’t exactly a fountain of fashion knowledge, but wouldn’t something as iconic as the Duchess of Cambridge‘s wedding dress deserve its own entry? We certainly think so, considering how much we wrote about it ourselves.
HuffPost Style says that at Wikimania 2012, the annual Wikimedia convention that took place last week, the hot topic of debate was none other than Kate Middleton’s dress. Apparently an article about the Sarah Burton-designed gown popped up on the day of Will and Kate’s nuptials, but it was flagged for deletion right away, with commenters calling it “trivial” or worse. Here is one such comment about the page:
“The sheer presence of this article is one of the lowest points ever reached by Wikipedia! What amazes me is that there’s acculturatede people (since the article was well written) who has such interests, and free time to lose to devoted themselves for such totally irrelevant arguments.”
Sic, sic, SIC! Ultimately Wikipedia staff decided to let the page stay because it had so much information not just on the dress itself, but the speculation surrounding it leading up to the ceremony and its impact. (Also Princess Di has one, and fair is fair.) Wikipedia editors had this to say regarding the article and others about fashion and garments:
One of the weaknesses in Wikipedia’s coverage of fashion at the moment is that there is not nearly enough coverage of specific examples. There is an analogy here with painting. There are articles on movements and schools in art, there are articles about particular artists, often illustrated by examples, and there are some articles about particular works of art. It needs to be that way – there is a need to understand that there was a Dutch fashion for painting interiors in the 17th century, or that painters were heavily influenced by Caravaggio, that there are a number of painters who are considered particularly fine or influential, but in the end it is the paintings that are the point of it all. Whether Girl with a Pearl Earring is on a par with this dress (or any other) isn’t relevant there. And for goodness sake, there are hundreds or articles on characters in TV dramas, so why worry about ones on dresses? We are free to read the ones that interest us.
But judging by HuffPost’s comment section, the debate rages on. One astute commenter brought up the point that many well-respected museums, including the Met and the Smithsonian, include exhibits that revolve around textiles and fashion as cultural artifacts. Are we going to start saying that those institutions are less than “acculturatede”? That claim would be ridiculous, if for no other reason than that, well, “acculturatede” is not a word.