Another opportunity to invite everyone into the Fashion Resource Centre has come and gone. And judging by the responses we received in our guest book and from emails, one week just isn’t long enough. An enthusiastic group of supporters enjoyed their first visit to this exhibit celebrating our 25 years.
I would like to thank all of the Friends of the Seneca Fashion Resource Centre, former faculty of the School of Fashion (Bev Newburg, Rosemary Webber), our Alumni and donors like fashion icon Marilyn Brooks, and Carolyne Pascoe for attending our reception the evening of May 4th.
The exhibit was “officially” opened with the cutting of a silver ribbon by former and current student employees of the Fashion Resource Centre including Bev Newburg who was there in 1989/1990 when she, Claire Becker and I began the task of organizing the collection. Of course, there have been many more Senecans involved in this labour of fashion love. Caroline Routh, Nancy Bursey, Gitte Hansen, Francoise Rioux, Wayne Norrison are just a few of the Senecans who believed that examples of fashion items would make learning come alive. They began to bring these items to their courses and what feels like overnight, the collection has grown to more than 15,000 examples of what Canadians have worn.
For those of you who were unable to attend, I hope the images in this Blog will give you a sense of the exhibit.
A 25th anniversary is a silver anniversary and that became our theme this year. The students and I chose garments that had obvious connections to that through the use of silver in the fabric and embellishments. The exhibit featured silver garments from the 1920s through the 2000s, making it a colour apparently as popular for special occasions as black is.
The exhibit was also an opportunity to reflect on our past, our present and our future. On display and representing our past included the pink beaded and sequin embellished flapper dress from the 1920s which was the very first garment we accessioned into the collection. I should clarify that it is virtually impossible to determine the first garment in the collection as dedicated faculty
in the School of Fashion had been bringing garments into their classrooms for years before we officially established the Fashion Resource Centre. However, the pink dress is accessioned as #00001.
Long time champions and supporters of the Fashion Industry in Ontario and Canada, Claire Haddad and Marilyn Brooks were represented with three of the garments that each of these talented women have designed and donated to our collection. They have been wonderful supporters of our collection and our students through donations of their archives, the establishment of the Albert and Claire Haddad Bursary Award and their service on Advisory Committees.
Next, are examples of some of the early additions to the collection. An aqua and white Courrégès, an extraordinary yellow beaded and black ribbon embellished mini dress and white and mint gown worn by former model and Style Coordinator of Yorkdale Mall, Norma Wildgoose.
The next vignettes represented just a few of the very interesting donations made to the Fashion Resource Centre this year. Two elegant and black gowns from the 1930s, a dramatic strapless blue and turquoise Italian made gown from the 1970s, and a delicate white cotton day dress from 1915.
The first wedding scene represents a donation made by Carolyne Pascoe on behalf of her mother Doris Pascoe Penrose and her sister Beverlee Pascoe Mintern. The soft blue dress with delicate floral embroidery is Doris’s wedding dress from 1937. The crocheted wedding dress with hood was worn by Beverlee Pascoe Mintern at her wedding in 1972. To the right, is Carolyne’s wedding dress, also from 1972 as well as the leopard print and black “going away” outfit that Carolyne wore.
In addition to these garments, Carolyne provided us with images of all three ladies in their wedding finery.
Deirdre Macdonald visited us in late December and brought with her the beautiful pink wedding gown with beaded bolero she wore in 1971. This dress came with the original sales receipt from Toronto designer Sybil Casey and photographs of Deirdre, her husband Robert and her mother. After visiting the Fashion Resource Centre Deirdre returned home to Dingwall, Nova Scotia and was able to send us not only her mother’s dress but the suit that her groom wore!
In keeping with our Silver theme a selection of shoes, handbags, compacts, and buckles were also on display.
Thanks to our friend Ingrid Mida of Ryerson University, we were contacted by The National
Ballet of Canada this year and acquired some very special additions to the collection.
Costumes for both male and female dancers of Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and Elite Syncopation have been added to our collection. These have quite different structural details that will be of interest to our students, especially those who wish to design and execute costumes.
And, we presented our future as a question mark. What will be our next donations? We do continue to collect and now is the time to acquire fashion items from 2000 to 2015.
We are very fortunate to have a space at the college to do such an event. And for that there are always many people who contribute to this event and who have my thanks.
Firstly, Sue Roadburg and Anna Cappucitti of the Fashion Business/Fashion Business Management program for the use of The Boutique space; to David McDermid, Ginny Kim and the Visual Merchandising students and my own Fashion Resource Centre students (Emma MacArthur and Kelsey Mills who also staffed the exhibit all week long) for all of the help in setting up and taking down the display; to all of the folks in our School of Fashion office – Gitte Hansen, Stephanie Valadao, Debbie Cadoo, Patricia Hines, and Marsha Wineman for their help in our opening evening. A big thank you to Barry Naymark and Alison Gibson in the Alumni Office who helped us secure a Pillar Sponsorship that helped to make this Exhibit possible.
Happy Silver Anniversary – now let’s work on a Golden Anniversary!