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Posted by on Jan 16, 2014 in Archive | 0 comments

February 1972 Attending a sale at Christie’s – Katherine B Brett

  ‘Attending a costume sale at Christie’s is an exhilarating experience especially if one is familiar with auction sales in Toronto.  The pace is so much faster that if you are not sitting on the edge of your seat, and paying close attention, a bargain can fly by before you have caught your breath and made a note of the item just before it.   I attended my first sale in the spring of 1968.  The two days before the sale were set aside for public viewing.  The viewing was held in very confined quarters where there were racks of dresses and other garments around the walls of a room too small to hold them.  On the floor, and on old pieces of furniture, there were boxes and bundles of miscellaneous articles.  I had received the catalogue in advance and had made notes of the various pieces which, from the descriptions sounded interesting.  The problem was to find them in the mad crush which closely resembled the Symphony Rummage...

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Posted by on Nov 23, 2013 in Archive | 0 comments

February 1972: Fashion and the Law

‘Mrs. Betty Ann Crosbie in her presentation on the status of women in the 1870’s to the Costume Society’s workshop last spring made mention of a tongue-in-cheek piece of legislation which purported to regulate and control female extravagance of dress.  The elaborate April Fool’s day joke was presented to the Parliament of the Canadas on April 1, 1859, and Mrs. Crosbie has sent along a copy of the original bill.  An act for the Reform and Regulation of Female Apparel, and to amend the Customs relating to Crinoline and other Artificial superfluities (Bill 999 2nd Session, 6th Parliament, 22 Victoria) The humour, unabashedly male chauvinist in tone, reveals a great deal about the relation of the sexes in mid-century Canada, and is typical of the ridicule which has always greeted any change in fashion.  The piece despite some offensive racist allusions would make an interesting re-print project for the Society.  In the meantime a few excerpts will perhaps excite members’ interest: “Whereas …. It hath been shown … that the Ladies...

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Posted by on Nov 23, 2013 in Archive | 0 comments

Summer 1971: Scraps from the Cutting Room Floor

Bits and pieces from here and there relating to costume in Canada From the Evening Telegram, Toronto, May 6, 1936 “Sixty years ago Miss Ida Romain, a belle of early Toronto, dancing partner of princes and statesmen, created a sensation with a remarkable costume made entirely of newspaper, which she wore to a fancy dress ball given on behalf of the Protestant Orphans’ Home.  That costume, yellowed but intact is still in the possession of Miss Romain, now a woman of 86 with a fund of interesting memories … The dress comprises of the Telegraph (predecessor to the Telegram), Glove, and Leader, Toronto papers of that time. Miss Romain made it herself with the aid of a seamstress, sewing the newspapers firmly to stiff buckram, and cleverly fashioning frills for the voluminous skirt and tight bodice … she ever contrived a newspaper bouquet-holder … A Toronto newspaper account of the ball had this to say of Miss Romain’s dress: ‘The attire worn by Miss Romain was remarkable for its novelty. ...

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