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Dress, Fashion and Textiles

The Dress, Fashion and Textiles collection comprises 20,680 garments and accessories made or worn in Canada over the past three centuries. It covers all aspects of women’s, men’s and children’s fashionable clothing of the 19th and early 20th centuries, including indoor and outdoor garments, underclothing, sports attire, and dress for occasions and rites like weddings and christenings. Several rare 18th-century garments and accessories have Canadian provenance.

The many examples of mid-20th-century high fashion by Montreal, Canadian and international designers and couturiers bear witness to the development of Canada’s apparel industry and garment retail sector. The collection also houses items linked to Canadian historic events and individuals. Numerous everyday items of dress are prized for their rarity. Accessories like gloves, stockings, shoes and women’s parasols, fans and purses are also well represented.

The collection includes outstanding historical documentation and is an invaluable research resource for many aspects of the history of Canadian fashion and material culture relating to appearance.

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Dress (M20189.1-2)

About 1882, 19th century

Coat (M20518)

About 1795, 18th century

Quilt (M972.3.1)

1726, 18th century