Milli: A Celebration of Style — which opened at the Art Gallery of Hamilton in April — is a retrospective of trailblazing fashion retailer Milli Gould’s iconic 55-year career. However, the carefully curated exhibit also offers something else: It’s an opportunity for visitors to see fashion, and the intricate detail and handiwork of more than 50 pieces of couture, highlighted in a gallery space.
The Art Gallery of Hamilton’s first exhibition to put fashion in dialogue with art, Milli: A Celebration of Style pairs fashion on loan from the wardrobes of Milli’s clients with works from the AGH’s permanent collection. The result is a lively and colourful exhibit that brings gallery patrons up close to the Milli aesthetic in an accessible, bright space.
When you first enter Milli: A Celebration of Style, you’ll be greeted by a scene that deconstructs the fashion design process, featuring sewing machines, fabric, and spools of thread. This frenzied scene is a stark contrast against the gallery space that follows where mannequins are grouped together, positioned in a way that you might picture them at a gala opening or a garden party. Each almost seems to be in conversation with another, giving the an exhibit an unexpected sense of informality.
In this stunning exhibit, great care has been placed in showcasing not only Gould’s famed fashion sense, but also her reputation as a quiet business leader and activist in Hamilton, as evidenced by newspaper articles and mementos from her iconic career that feature prominently in the exhibit. Even those with little experience viewing fashion at art will delight in seeing this unique exhibit up close.
Milli: A Celebration of Style
Art Gallery of Hamilton (Gallery Level 2)
123 King Street West
April 13, 2019 – February 9, 2020