Collections and Research

Shoes, La Gioconda, about 1930. Gift of Alan Grant, M2013.54.2.1-2 © McCord Stewart Museum

Dress, Fashion and Textiles

The Dress, Fashion and Textiles collection comprises more than 27,000 garments and accessories from the past three centuries, made or worn primarily in Montreal. The collection covers all aspects of women’s, men’s and children’s fashionable dress of the 19th and 20th centuries, including indoor and outdoor garments, underclothing, sports attire, everyday clothing, and dress for special occasions such as weddings and christenings.
Explore the collection online

Accessories like gloves, stockings, shoes and women’s parasols, fans and purses are well represented. Numerous items of everyday dress and several 18th-century garments and accessories are prized for their rarity.

The many examples of mid to late 20th century fashion by local manufacturers and designers and international couturiers illustrate the development of Montreal’s apparel industry, retail sector and import market. Some items are associated with historic Canadian events and renowned individuals.

Given the collection’s social history orientation, most items have been well documented as to their owner, maker, or context of use. The collection is an invaluable research resource for many aspects of the history of fashion in Montreal and Canada and material culture relating to appearance.


  • Suit, about 1780, remodeled in the 1790s. Gift of Mrs. Herbert Molson, M18005.1-3 © McCord Stewart Museum
  • Shoes, La Gioconda, about 1930. Gift of Alan Grant, M2013.54.2.1-2 © McCord Stewart Museum
  • Wedding dress, Levaque’s Wool Shop, 1970. Gift of Fonds Franco-Ontarien Paulette Tourangeau, M2011.20.1.1 © McCord Stewart Museum
  • Dress, John James Milloy, 1887. Acquired with the assistance of a Movable Cultural Property grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act, M2009.62.1.1-2 © McCord Stewart Museum
  • Boots, Canadian Rubber Co., 1868-1875. Gift of Dr. William P. Baker, M2006.118.1.1-2 © McCord Stewart Museum
  • Sampler, Mary Sheepey, 1764. Gift of René Boissay, M988.132 © McCord Stewart Museum

Cynthia Cooper

Cynthia joined the McCord Museum team in 1998. She is drawn to telling stories about clothing and fashion trends that have become entangled with Canadian identity projects. She is a three-time recipient of the Richard Martin Exhibition Award from the Costume Society of America.

Meet curator Cynthia Cooper and learn more about her expertise and her work.
Learn more

Not to be missed!

Not to be missed!