The Absent Presence of Evelyn Wilkie in Photographs

When donors offer clothing to the Ryerson Fashion Research Collection, I always ask if there are related photographs.  Clothing tells only one part of the story. Photographs can help reveal other clues as to the fashioning of identity since accessories and other details of body language are also relevant to unravelling clues to their persona.…

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A Handbag’s Tale

Editor’s Introduction: This post was a creative project by MA Fashion student Anna Pollice for a special topics class called “Fashion Beyond the Clothed Body” with Dr. Esther Berry. In this post, Anna writes the narrative of an object biography from the point of view of a handbag (and her imaginary owner Eleanor). This handbag…

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The Top Hat of E.J. Lennox, Architect of Old City Hall

By Amanda Memme The Ryerson Fashion Research Collection owns five top hats – quite a few, I thought, for this type of accessory. One top hat stood out among the rest (FRC2014.07.091 A-J). This hat was housed in a luxurious hard-shell case of leather and canvas that had been stencilled with the initials E.J.L.T. Not only…

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Mulhallen’s Muglers: The biography of a pair of hand-painted pumps

By Annika Waddell  Amid the assemblage of shoes found within the Ryerson Research Collection is one unassuming white shoebox (FRC1994.01.030 A+B), pulled delicately from a shelf by the collection’s coordinator, and author of The Dress Detective, Ingrid Mida. The name “Thierry Mugler” is written in black sharpie along the box’s edge. Taking the box in…

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The Muff

The muff – a roll of fabric or fur, lined in wool, satin, silk, linen or other fabric – typically used to keep one’s hands warm is considered a feminine accessory. However, at one time the muff was used by both men and women. One of the earliest muffs recorded was illustrated in the 16th century…

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