Ryerson Fashion Research Collection

Opening the closet door to a Canadian fashion archive


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FRC Research Appointments Fall 2016

For the fall term, research appointments in the FRC will generally be available on Mondays 830 am – 2 pm and Wednesday afternoons 130-6 p.m., as well as on Thursday afternoons between 4-6 p.m. The last appointment can begin no later than one hour beforehand.

Appointments must be booked in advance and are not available on short notice. Depending on the garments requested, it can take an hour to set up for a single appointment. Please make your requests with as much notice as possible. 

For tips on how to make an appointment and what type of information is needed so that I can best help you with your research question, please click on the tab at the top: “How to make a Research Appointment.”

I generally advise that students read Chapters 1-5 of my book The Dress Detective: The Practical Guide to Object-based Research in Fashion before their appointment.
Dress Detective_Cover_LRThere are two checklists at the end of the book to guide you through the steps so that you can make the most effective use of your time. It will also be helpful to read or peruse the case studies in the book, which include historic garments, couture, undergarments, bridal wear, and menswear. This book is available online through the Ryerson library portal.

 

Other tips to help you make most of your appointment:

1. Do some reading in advance. Read about the designer, the time period or the type of garment that you have asked to see. For example, if you are going to study this dress by Balenciaga, read about the designer in advance. Or if you are asking to look at dresses from the Edwardian era, know the characteristics of the period. Knowing what you might expect to see will help you recognize when something is unusual. Garments have complex histories and might have been altered by the wearer.
2. Look up similar garments or designers in other collections. More museums are offering parts of their collections online. These usually do not come up in a Google search. Visit the websites of the largest collections of costume such as the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York or the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to access and search their online collection and ancillary scholarly material.
3.  Bring the right tools. Your tool kit might include a pencil, notebook, camera (with the flash disabled), and perhaps a measuring tape and magnifying glass.
4.  Wash your hands before your visit and be prepared to wear gloves. Leave dangling jewelry, long scarves and big backpacks in your locker.
5.  Slow down. Turn off your phone and other distractions. Make a mental shift to be present and engaged.

FRC_HistPieces_1999.06.006_INS_3_Web

Cream silk damask bodice with high neckline, extended sailor collar, and gigot sleeves with ribbon closure at cuff, front hook and eye closures, cream satin bow at chest, pink, green blue and cream vertical beaded trim at neckline, cotton interior lining with boning, self-fabric asymmetrical belt. C. 1890-1895. Donated by Alan Suddon, FRC 1999.06.066          Photo by Ingrid Mida, 2012.

 


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Upcoming Event: ICOM Costume Committee Study Day

Balenciaga Gown and Bolero, ca.1955-1960, FRC1992.01.019ab

Balenciaga Gown and Bolero, ca.1955-1960, FRC1992.01.019ab

Ryerson University School of Fashion will be the host of the International Council of Museums Costume Committee Study Day on Tuesday, September 8, 2015.

This event is open to students who are interested in historic dress and/or museum studies and will be held on campus. A limited number of tours of the FRC facility will also be held.

Advance sign-up is required. Interested students must rsvp by September 3, 2015 to Ellen Holzan at ellenhlozan@hotmail.com. Seating is limited to 50 students. 

Programme Details:

12:00 – 1:00 Pre-event Tours of the Ryerson Fashion Research Collection

1:05 – 1:15 Welcome, Announcements, and History of Student Saturday/Tuesday Ellen Hlozan and Vicki Berger

 

1:15 – 1:35 Ingrid Mida, Ryerson Fashion Research Collection Co-ordinator, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada –The Ryerson Fashion Research Collection and A Preview of “The Dress Detective: A Practical Guide to Object-based Research in Fashion” 

 

 

 

 

1:35 – 1:55 Isabel Alvarado Perales, Interim Director, Museum of National History, Santiago, Chile – The artistic representation as a source of knowledge of the history of women’s clothing in Chile: the case of José Gil de Castro and Raimundo Monvoisin

1:55 – 2:15 Vicki L. Berger, Ph.D., Retired Curator of Costume and Textiles, North Carolina Museum of History; Phoenix, Arizona, USA – A 1942 World War II American Bride: Anita Ruth Bonham Crawford

2:35 – 2:50 Q & A Session with first group of speakers

2:50 – 3:30 Refreshment break and Tour

 

Fashion Victims Cover3:30 – 3:50 Alison Matthews David, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director, Fashion MA, School of Fashion, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada – Preview of “Fashion Victims

 

 

 

 

3:50 – 4:10 Meg Wilcox, Wardrobe Supervisor, Sherbrooke Village Restoration, Nova Scotia Museum, Sherbrooke, Nova Scotia, Canada – Challenges and Triumphs in Costuming Historical Sites Challenges

4:10 – 4:30 Sofia Pantouvaki, Ph.D., Scenographer and Professor of Costume Design for Theatre and Film, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland – Performance Costume in the Absence of the Body

4:30 – 4:45 Q & A with speakers

4:45 – 4:55 Farewell and Adjourn Ellen Hlozan and Vicki Berger

4:55 – 5:25 Post-event Tours

 


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Exhibitions of the Ryerson Fashion Research Collection

By Ingrid Mida, BA, MA. Collection Co-ordinator.

FRC_EveDresses_2013.99.020_F34_Web

Evening Dress in white satin with black velvet applique. Label: Pat McDonagh. FRC2013.99.020.

One way collections come to life is through exhibitions. The public exhibition of garments from the Ryerson Fashion Research Collection has occurred only three times in its  thirty-two year history.

In June 1987, there was an exhibition of 1960s garments called “Youthquake: Canadian Fashion in the 1960s” for two weeks in the Olive Baker Lounge on campus. In a Toronto Star article called “Exhibit Features ’60s gear” by Fashion writer Nancy Hastings she interviewed Professor Kathy Cleaver who put the exhibit together with student Jacques Buteau. Kathy was quoted as saying she “felt it was important to look back on the beginnings of this Canadian fashion consciousness” and that she had “recovered vintage garments from designers’ storerooms and fashionable closets”.

Toronto Star Article, June 11, 1987 "Exhibit features '60s gear"

Toronto Star Article, June 11, 1987 “Exhibit features ’60s gear”

In October 1989, there was an exhibition of early 20th century garments called “Every hour an Occasion, Women’s Dress 1900-1910” curated by Kathy Cleaver and Alan Suddon and designed by Robert Ott for display in the Olive Baker Lounge on campus.

In November 2007, the School of Fashion celebrated its 40-year anniversary with an exhibition at the Design Exchange in Toronto called “From Home Ec to High Tech: 60 Years of Fashion Education at Ryerson”. This display traced the evolution of the School of Fashion from its inception in 1948 and was researched and designed by students and supervised by Dr. Alison Matthews David. Photos of that exhibit are available here.

Although there are no immediate plans to have a public exhibition, this digital portal – as well as the Pinterest site – might be thought of as a online museum – a gallery open at your convenience – wherever and whenever you need it!

This project has been sponsored by a grant from the Learning & Teaching Office of Ryerson University.