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II-123099
© McCord Museum
Photograph
Pierre Beullac as "Jean de Lauzon," costumed for Chateau de Ramezay Ball, Montreal, QC, 1898
Wm. Notman & Son
1898, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
17 x 12 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
II-123099
© McCord Museum

Keys to History:

Standing out among the men as being particularly well dressed was a young lawyer, Pierre Beullac, as "Jean de Lauzon," in a costume created by his father. Raymond Beullac was a Montreal costumier known to have rented costumes for Lady Aberdeen's fancy dress ball in Ottawa, as well.

Men frequently rented fancy dress, whereas women were more likely to have something made. Men were thought to have far more difficulty choosing fancy dress than women, given the limited range of choice they were usually faced with. The preoccupation with fabrics, trims and flattering styles required to choose a fancy dress costume was very new to men. People generally waited until only a day or two before the event to rent their costumes. Rental was very convenient for those who did not want to take too much trouble over a costume.

References
Cynthia Cooper, Magnificent Entertainments: Fancy Dress Balls of Canada's Governors General, 1876-1898 (Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions & Canadian Museum of Civilization, 1997), p. 139.

Cynthia Cooper, "Dressing Up: A Consuming Passion," in Fashion: A Canadian Perspective, ed. Alexandra Palmer (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, forthcoming).

What:

Pierre Beullac wore a gold and blue brocade coat, with yellow satin knee breeches, a frizzed wig and knots of ribbon at the neck, cuffs and knees.

Where:

The Windsor Hotel ballroom had been decorated for the event by Pierre Beullac's father, who was first and foremost a decorator.

When:

Raymond Beullac, Pierre's father, had arrived in Montreal in 1874 and established himself as a decorator of churches, then later ballrooms. By the late 1890s, he also had a costume rental business.

Who:

Pierre Beullac had been practising law for three years and would later become a judge.

© Musée McCord Museum