Where We Unravel the World of Fashion…

Review: PARACHUTE EXHIBITION at the Mccord Museum of Montreal

Do you remember the iconic fashion brand, Parachute? It was all the rave of sought-after underground fashion from 1977 to 1993. A true phenomenon of the 80’s. Harry Parnass and Nicola Pelly both worked in sales at Le Chateau before branching out as the very designers -creators of the famous Parachute Brand.

The exhibit begins with an array of military-inspired outfits that kicked off the 80’s trend of what would be both edgy defiance to rough-looking utilitarian chic. This became all the rage.

Fashionable, comfortable, androgynous garments, with their own 1,2,3,4 sizings made it possible for all to wear Parachute clothing and trend with the times. The thing that struck me most was the foresite of Parnass and Pelly…I mean, the majority of the clothes exhibited could almost all be worn today, and still be stylish! This is a pure example of quality vintage at its best.

But let’s remember that it was the 80’s after all…so that also meant big, glamorous and disco glitz; Parachute was all that and more.

I must also mention that strangely enough, the very first Parachute store in Montreal was not flashy by any means- nor was it established on prime location. Like most subculture fashion, the store itself had to be sought out. Read on!

Parachute did not just remain in Montreal. Stores opened in Soho, New York, LA and throughout. Celebrities flocked to the brand: Peter Gabriel, Madonna, Michael Jackson…If you lived through the 80’s, Who can forget the infamous Parachute blazer seen worn on Miami Vice?

The exhibit takes you through a vast collection of mint-condition apparel; clips of the designers speaking of the brand and the history; more clips with celebrities and the very salespeople that worked in the stores; visuals of store locations and interior decor… There’s also a whole section dedicated to clips of concerts with stars performing- all attired in Parachute.

As a fashion teacher, I personally revelled in the fabric swatches and the detail of the sketches collected and preserved. I was also impressed by the magazine covers featuring the brand- what a collection!

As a Montrealer, I couldn’t feel prouder of the legacy and how this brand was epic in helping to strategically keep our international fashion center as the heart that keeps on beating.

Have you seen the exhibition? It ends soon! April 24th is the last day. Die-hard fashionistas, go get in on the history- fast!

Fashion Unstitched is a series where I take you through bits of fashion history, fibres and textiles, guest interviews, industry talk, fashion events, sustainability, museums, reviews…If it’s fashionable- I’m covering it!! Suggestions, and collaborations are welcome. Send me an email. Thanks for reading.

12 thoughts on “FASHION UNSTITCHED

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    1. You do!! Certainly brought me back some good memories:) Have a great rest of the week xx

    1. Oh Shelbee, you’re probably too young still!! It was home grown here in Montreal:) Thanks xx

    1. Yes! And the designers used to work there until they branched out and created their own brand, Parachute:) Thanks xx

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