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Title: The myth and reality of haute couture : consumption, social function and taste in Toronto, 1945 - 1963.
Author: Palmer, Helen Alexandra.
Awarding Body: University of Brighton
Current Institution: University of Brighton
Date of Award: 1994
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This thesis investigates the multi-faceted use of haute couture in Toronto as a symbol of English-Canadian women's postwar cultural identity. European and Canadian couture are related to their socio-economic use in the wardrobes of elite Toronto women whose needs and taste directly reflected etiquette codes, the expanding social season, and the requirements for functioning within it. Couture is contextualized beyond a status symbol, and seen to be a necessity in the performance of women's social roles and volunteer work in establishing arts and charitable organizations. It was vital in creating a national sartorial taste for English-Canadian women, and in defining their social and cultural identity during the postwar years. Further, it examines and analyzes the systems of buying and distributing European couture by Canadian retailers, then explores the relevance of these imports for Toronto's department stores, boutiques and their customers. Integral to this documentation and analysis, is the use of a multidisciplinary methodology that weds material culture with oral history, film and printed archival research. This has made it possible to document the movement and the function of couture from production, distribution and consumption, to its use and meaning in the context of postwar Toronto. By examining couture consuniption in terms of its cultural and economic meaning this study touches upon and informs several academic fields; it contributes to the scant research on twentieth century couture, especially on Canadian dress, as well as to Canadian women's social history.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Women's social history; Fashion History Art