Adopt and Outfit - SMOC Garment Conservation

Individuals or groups are invited to help restore a worthy sartorial candidate

SMOC’s Adopt-An-Outfit was generously gifted to us by the Museum of Vancouver in 2012

The dress originally belonged to Miss Ethel Gordon. Miss Gordon was born in Ireland in 1875 and immigrated to Regina Saskatchewan (date unknown). In the 1930s, she settled in Vancouver, where she lived for the rest of her life. Among her belongings was this dressed, tucked away with other early mementoes.

The dress dates to the early 1880s, as is evident by the slim S-shaped silhouette and exaggerated bustle. It would have be worn as a formal reception dress (perhaps to welcome guests to a formal dinner or late-afternoon tea.) The gown is made of black silk and adorned with fine lace with gold silk trim. The lace is delicately hand-embroidered with tiny glass beads. This style of trim is commonly found on gowns of this era, but the beaded detail adds a touch of luxury, as hand-beading was not for common everyday garments.

A modest but also sensuous example of late Victorian dress.

But alas, the silk shift and gold trim are frayed. The beadwork is loose in places and needs re-embellishment.

With the generous donation of our SMOC Sartorial Surrogates, and some TLC from professional costume restorers, this dress will once again glisten and shimmer back to life.

Evening Cape with Feathered Midci collar 1880's

Evening cape mid 1890s silk damask

Decorated with turkey feathers. Lined with quilted white satin. Damask fabric weave shows meandering signs of foliage and squirrels. Cape has Medici collar and fastens at front with hooks and eyes.

Gift from Canadian Costume Society, Victoria
Original donor Isabel Knox

Medici Collar from 1890's

Medici Collar from 1890's


For more information please contact, or make a donation toward the restoration of this our beautiful garments via the Donation button below.

With each donation, you or your team will receive:

  • A pair of free tickets to the next SMOC show at Hycroft
  • A private tour of the SMOC collection with Ivan Sayers
  • A certificate of adoption
  • A write-up in our newsletter and on our Facebook page

….and immortality: each time the garment is viewed in future, you get a mention of gratitude!

Suggested donation levels are:

Pret-a-porter $70
Bespoke $100
Haute Couture $150

All donations for Adopt-an-Outfit qualify for a Tax Receipt.

Contact us regarding donations 

Name *