McCord Museum Receives Donation
from Designer Edith Strauss

Montreal, November 20, 2000 — The McCord's internationally recognized Collection of Costume and Textiles has received a donation of five garments created by renowned Toronto fashion designer Edith Strauss.

Edith Strauss has been active in Canadian fashion design since 1947, when she became executive designer of Canada's largest dress manufacturing company in Montreal. In 1965, she moved to Toronto and launched her own label, Edith Strauss. In 1990, the city of Toronto recognized her accomplishments with the Fashion Industry Achievement Award. Her collection was sold at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York in the early 1970s, and in 1981 she became the first Canadian designer to sell a collection in Japan. Strauss continues to design two collections a year from her elegant studio on Carlton Street in Toronto.

Most notable of the garments received by the McCord is a printed cotton voile dress in shades of turquoise, blue, yellow, orange and pink. The dress, dating from the mid-1970s, is gathered into a yoke with square neckline, and has three-quarter length sleeves and a matching scarf. This garment is special in that it was part of the designer's own wardrobe, and is documented with photographs of the dress being worn by a model and by Strauss herself.

Another noteworthy garment won an Eedee Award from the Ontario Fashion Council in 1970. The white silk crepe dress has a deep-fringed hemline and matching fringed scarf. Pink and mauve beaded trim borders the sleeves and the hemline above the fringe. This dress drew a great deal of attention from the industry: Lisa Taylor, then chairman of the Fashion Council in Ottawa referred to it as the most original design, an expression of the transition period from the Mini to the Midi Look.

The other three dresses date from the 1980s. From 1982, a black silk chiffon floor-length evening dress has a skirt embellished with silver and a hand-painted design in mauve, pink and white. The rest date from the same period, all made in original top-of-the-line fabrics, exclusive to the designer.

The five garments and extensive photographic documentation were recently donated by Strauss. "Of the vast range of objects that museums collect, costume generates a particularly strong emotional response from viewers, and appeals to a wide range of museum visitors," said Edith Strauss. "It is highly significant that a member of the fashion industry has chosen to make this donation to the McCord Museum," said Dr. Victoria Dickenson, Executive Director of the McCord.

The McCord Collection of Costume and Textiles includes more than 16,400 objects made or worn in Canada during the past three centuries. The Collection also contains costume accessories and domestic textiles such as embroidered samplers and quilts. Highlights of the Collection are currently on display in the permanent exhibition Simply Montréal, Glimpses of a Unique City, and will also be featured in an upcoming exhibition on the history of men's fashion.

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David Rollins (514) 398-7100, ext. 305

Photographs and slides available on request

The McCord wishes to acknowledge the support of the Heritage Canada Museums Assistance Program, the Quebec Ministry of Culture and Communications and the Arts Council of the Montreal Urban Community.