Daughter of Historic Dress Maker Explains ‘Sidonia’s Thread’ Exhibition

Hanna Marcus, daughter of dress maker Sidonia Perlstein, spoke at Eastern on Feb. 13 about her mother’s life and exhibition currently on display at the Windham Textile and History Museum.

Author and social worker Hanna Pearlstein Marcus came to Eastern Connecticut State University on Feb. 13, to promote the exhibition “Sidonia’s Thread: Crafting a Life from Holocaust to High Fashion,” which is open at the Windham Textile and History Museum until April 28.

Organized by Eastern Theatre Professor Anya Sokolovskaya, the exhibition showcases the life of Marcus’ mother, Sidonia Pearlstein, who survived the Holocaust and fled to the United States at the conclusion of World War II. It also highlights Sidonia’s legacy of becoming an accomplished clothing designer in Western New England after overcoming a difficult period in her life.

Garments from the ‘Sidonia’s Thread’ exhibition.

Marcus’s book, “Sidonia’s Thread”, spotlights her childhood growing up with her mother and the creative yet secretive life they shared with each other, which Marcus says was the primary nature of their relationship.

The Windham Textile Museum exhibition features garments by Sidonia, which tell stories of how survival, family and other trials and tribulations inspired the remarkable clothing designer.
Marcus provided Eastern students many insights about her biography, making sure to capture her mother’s resilience while emphasizing her ability to handle a needle and craft beautiful garments.

“My mother had a special gift, a gift that saved her in the holocaust and made a living for her in America,” said Marcus. “She had golden hands that could create the most beautiful head turning garments.”

One piece of advice from her mother that Marcus taken into adult life is: “Stand up straight in both fashion and life.” Marcus explained, “It means having self-confidence and a good self-image.”
The exhibition was organized by Anya Sokolovskaya, assistant professor of theatre and costume design, who enlisted the help of several students to bring the exhibition to life.

The Windham Textile and History Museum is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. General admission is $7; students and seniors (62+) pay $5; admission for museum members, children under 5 years old, and Eastern students is free.

Written by Bobbi Brown