Dec 272017
 
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Dressing Up: Celebrating Canada's New Years Through The Decades. Highlights from the Eve of Elegance Exhibit by the Costume Museum of Canada

Highlights from the Eve of Elegance Exhibit by the Costume Museum of Canada

The earliest recorded New Year’s celebrations date back over 4,000 years to ancient Babylon. Since then, traditions to welcome the new year and bring good luck and good fortune in the year ahead have varied over time and by country. Elegant formal parties came into vogue in the late 1800s and are still in fashion today. Although the tradition remains, the style of those fancy dresses and tuxedos has changed over the years.

This fall the Costume Museum of Canada staged a pop-up exhibition in Winnipeg, Manitoba called The Eve of Elegance highlighting the styles of fancy dress in Canada over the decades and I had the chance to see the style changes over the years.

Woman’s turquoise silk brocade opera gown from 1850. Dressing Up: Celebrating Canada's New Years Through The Decades. Highlights from the Eve of Elegance Exhibit by the Costume Museum of Canada.

Woman’s turquoise silk brocade opera gown from 1850

Chinese red silk brocade gown from 1959. Dressing Up: Celebrating Canada's New Years Through The Decades. Highlights from the Eve of Elegance Exhibit by the Costume Museum of Canada.

Chinese red silk brocade gown from 1959

Dressing Up: Celebrating Canada's New Years Through The Decades. Highlights from the Eve of Elegance Exhibit by the Costume Museum of Canada. Formal attire from the period of 1897 to 1910.

Formal attire from the period of 1897 to 1910

Dressing Up: Celebrating Canada's New Years Through The Decades. Highlights from the Eve of Elegance Exhibit by the Costume Museum of Canada

Boots were once the standard footwear

Boots as standard footwear for ladies went out of style during World War I. Hemlines were higher so they could walk the streets to work. This created a gap between the top of the boot and the hem of the dress. Shoes came into vogue.

Styles from the roaring 1920s. Dressing Up: Celebrating Canada's New Years Through The Decades. Highlights from the Eve of Elegance Exhibit by the Costume Museum of Canada

Styles from the roaring 1920s

The “flapper” look came into fashion in the second half of the 1920s. By then corsets were out of style and chests were bound.

A 1926 mauve/grey beaded georgette French gown alongside a mauve/grey silk taffeta cocktail dress and mink stole from the 1950s. Dressing Up: Celebrating Canada's New Years Through The Decades. Highlights from the Eve of Elegance Exhibit by the Costume Museum of Canada.

A 1926 mauve/grey beaded georgette French gown alongside a mauve/grey silk taffeta cocktail dress and mink stole from the 1950s

Dressing Up: Celebrating Canada's New Years Through The Decades. Highlights from the Eve of Elegance Exhibit by the Costume Museum of Canada.

Crinolines, which were first used in the 1850s, were popular again in the 1950s to give a skirt fullness.

Paco Rabanne 1968 silver metal mini dress. Dressing Up: Celebrating Canada's New Years Through The Decades. Highlights from the Eve of Elegance Exhibit by the Costume Museum of Canada.

This Paco Rabanne 1968 silver metal mini dress does not look very comfortable

Arnold Scassi red satin strapless gown from the 1980s. Dressing Up: Celebrating Canada's New Years Through The Decades. Highlights from the Eve of Elegance Exhibit by the Costume Museum of Canada.

Arnold Scassi red satin strapless gown from the 1980s

Dressing Up: Celebrating Canada's New Years Through The Decades. Highlights from the Eve of Elegance Exhibit by the Costume Museum of Canada.

A 2007 green silk evening gown and a 1960s tuxedo with mohair and silk lapel

The Costume Museum of Canada in Winnipeg, Manitoba seeks to preserve and exhibit the costumes worn by the people of Canada over the decades. It has over 35,000 artifacts in its collection. With no permanent gallery space, it makes its collection available to the public through pop-up exhibits, heritage fashion revues, and educational programs.

Dressing Up: Celebrating Canada's New Years Through The Decades. Highlights from the Eve of Elegance Exhibit by the Costume Museum of Canada

What can be more elegant than a top hat?

Will your New Year’s Eve be one of elegance? What will you be wearing?

PIN IT Dressing Up: Celebrating Canada's New Years Through The Decades. Highlights from the Eve of Elegance Exhibit by the Costume Museum of Canada. #costume #museum #Canada #NewYear

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  4 Responses to “Dressing Up – Celebrating Canada’s New Years Through the Decades”

  1. Wow, did anyone actually wear that Paco Rabanne number? Certainly not in Canada in January. 🙂

    • Deb, I didn’t get the story behind the owner of the Paco Rabanne number. It might be worn in January if the owner covered it with a long heavy (less fashionable) coat, Sorrel boots, a scarf, toque and mitts until she arrived at the party!

  2. I think some Canadians might have headed south for the New Year before putting some of these on.

    • Ken, some of these are definitely indoor wear only in a Canadian winter. They’d be hidden under layers of parkas and boots in transit.

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