BRANDON, MB October 12, 2018 –Eileen Trott, Curator, Daly House Museum announced today that the Museum has launched an exciting new exhibit in its Community Gallery to celebrate Women’s History Month. It’s a 100-year retrospective that focuses on the unprecedented changes in women’s fashions from the 1880s to the 1980s and the underlying seismic shifts in women’s roles in Canadian Society. Artifacts from the Museum’s own collections examine the emergence of the “New Woman” as she was dubbed in popular culture from the 1890s. During this time period women started to move away from their traditional domestic roles and began pursuing higher education, office jobs, active sports, and social reforms. The active lives of the new woman required more practical streamlined clothing than the many-layered, heavily draped outfits of the late Victorian lady.
A fashion timeline of costumed mannequins shows the progression of women’s dresses, most noticeably in their size and shape, the fabrics and layers used, and the varying necklines, waistlines and skirt lengths deployed. A sampling of women’s undergarments and accessories illuminate how women achieved the desired/required shape. An array of hats, shoes, and jewelry which complemented a woman’s look is also on display.
Scattered throughout the exhibit photographs depict the styles of local women and store front displays from local businesses. A section of these photographs highlight the clothing that represents the active outdoor life of the New Woman. This active woman defied societal rules to create clothing that allowed women to participate energetically in tennis or to wheel her bicycle down a country lane, but societal ideas of “proper” feminine attire slowed the progress of more practical sportswear including swimwear.
“The New Woman’s Fashion Revolution: 1880-1980” is a stunning visual experience bound to appeal to costume lovers and historians alike. By tracing the evolution of fashion that took place in reaction to the numerous changes in women’s roles, visitors are reminded of how intertwined decorative arts are with the culture of the times.
This exhibit was made possible through the support of Manitoba Heritage Grants. Daly House Museum is grateful for this support.
Exhibit will run until February 28, 2019.