June 17, 2024

A second edition for the book Parachute: Subversive Design and Street Fashion

Press Release

The McCord Stewart Museum joins forces with prestigious publishing house Rizzoli New York.

Montreal, Monday, June 17, 2024 – The Museum is pleased to announce the publication of the second edition of the book Parachute: Subversive Design and Street Fashion. This new edition has been revised and expanded with a section devoted to the popular exhibition Parachute: Subversive Fashion of the ’80s. It should appeal to both Parachute fans and readers who want to discover this famous brand inspired by new wave subculture. Celebrated from New York to Tokyo for its vision, bold designs and innovative concept stores, Parachute was the go-to brand for stars like Madonna, Peter Gabriel and David Bowie. Parachute embodied the exuberance of the 1980s and heralded the future of apparel and retail. Available at the Museum Boutique and in many bookstores across Canada, the book is distributed internationally by Rizzoli New York. On Wednesday, June 19, a book signing will take place at the Museum Boutique with Alexis Walker, author of Parachute: Subversive Design and Street Fashion and Assistant Curator of Dress, Fashion and Textiles, along with Parachute brand co-founder Nicola Pelly.

“This book is the culmination of almost five years of research, and explores how Parachute toed the line between establishment and underground, transforming subcultural street style into a sophisticated global designer fashion brand. The worldwide distribution of this book also lends international exposure to the McCord Stewart Museum’s Dress, Fashion and Textiles, Archives and Photography collections, from which all the pieces and ensembles, documents and photographs presented in this book are drawn,” said Alexis Walker, Associate Curator, Dress, Fashion and Textiles.

Book signing at the Museum

Wednesday, June 19, 2023 – 5 to 7 p.m. – Museum Boutique

More information

The Book – Parachute: Subversive Design and Street Fashion

  • Laura Dimitru, 2024 © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • Laura Dimitru, 2024 © Musée McCord Stewart Museum
  • Laura Dimitru, 2024 © Musée McCord Stewart Museum

Uniquely designed with ephemera layered over photographs as if in the founders’ own scrapbooks, this 360-page bilingual work is a definitive insight into a highly influential cult 1980s brand, and a key reference for anyone interested in the history of subcultural fashion and streetwear. Alexis Walker’s extensive original research has culminated in this remarkable book closely tied to the Parachute: Subversive Fashion of the 1980s (2021-2022) exhibition. As the curator of this exhibition at the McCord Stewart Museum, Walker’s efforts were recognized with the prestigious Richard Martin Exhibition Award from the Costume Society of America in 2023. Notably, the exhibition garnered an impressive attendance of nearly 90,000 visitors.

Alexis Walker explores the history of the brand through hundreds of images, many never published, including personal photography from the founders of the label alongside striking editorial and campaign imagery. She also highlights the extensive archives and collection of Parachute brand items, generously donated by Nicola Pelly to the Museum.

Author: Alexis Walker, Introduction by Nicola Pelly
Bilingual, 360 pages
Publisher: Rizzoli
Publication date: May 7, 2024
Price CDN: $85.00
ISBN: 978-0-8478-9972-2
Available for international sale

Look inside

High resolution photographs

About the authors

Alexis Walker, conservatrice adjointe, Costume, mode et textiles

Alexis Walker joined the McCord Museum as Curatorial Assistant in Dress, Fashion and Textiles in 2015. She has a BFA in Textiles from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and an MA in Fashion and Textiles Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. She is particularly interested in the intersections of contemporary fashion with art, music, film and pop culture.

She was curatorial assistant for Fashioning Expo 67 (2018), co-curator of Jean-Claude Poitras: Fashion and Inspiration (2019), a joint exhibition with the Musée de la Civilisation, and curator of Parachute: Subversive Fashion of the ‘80s(2021), for which the Museum won the Costume Society of America’s 2023 Richard Martin Exhibition Award.

In addition to her curatorial work, Walker is an embroidery and textile artist as well as a former fashion and costume designer and stylist. She has taught fashion history at George Brown College in Toronto and LaSalle College in Montreal.

Nicola Pelly co-founder of Parachute

Nicola Pelly (b. 1948, Leamington Spa, England) studied fashion & design at the Kingston College of Art in London amidst the youth-driven counterculture music, fashion and art revolutions of the1960s. Immigrating to Montreal in 1971, Pelly worked as a designer for sportswear manufacturer Bagatelle Ltd. before joining Le Château in 1976 as a design coordinator.

After the Parachute stores were closed Nicola stepped back to focus on their young children. She worked with her partner Harry on his projects including collaborating with UNHCR to design a village for refugees.

The McCord Stewart Museum


A landmark in the heart of Montreal for over 100 years, the McCord Stewart Museum bears witness to the history of Quebec’s metropolis as well as its influence in Canada and around the world, celebrating the vitality, creativity and diversity of the communities that make it up.

The Museum amplifies their voices by interpreting and disseminating the remarkable heritage under its custody: six expansive collections of 2.5 million images, objects, documents and works of art that make it one of North America’s leading museums.

In keeping with its commitment to decolonization and sustainable development, it creates stimulating exhibitions and educational, cultural and community-engagement activities that look at the social history and contemporary issues affecting its audiences through a critical and inclusive lens, inspiring them to take action for a fairer society.

The Dress, Fashion and Textiles collection

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.

The Photography collection

The Photography collection encompasses over 2.1 million images that primarily document the social history of Montreal, but also that of Quebec and Canada. Its holdings range from daguerreotypes created in the 1840s to contemporary digital images.

The Archives collection

The Archives collection is composed of 850 sets of documents, most of which are archival fonds related to individuals, families or organizations, or special collections organized around a theme or type of document. Totalling over 340 linear metres, these archives cover the entire history of Canada, but focus more particularly on that of Montreal and Montrealers during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Information and interview requests

Marc-André Champagne
Officer, Public Relations
514 861-6701, ext. 1239

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