Museum Receives Donation
from Designer Edith Strauss
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
David Rollins (514) 398-7100, ext. 305
and slides available on request
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