Canadian Fashion Connection: Milli Gould (1935 – 2019)

Milli Gould at the Art Gallery of Hamilton exhibition, April 2019

Hamilton retailer Milli Gould passed away October 13 after operating one of Hamilton’s premier women’s clothing stores for more than half a century.

With a $5,000 loan, Milli opened her first shop in Hamilton in 1964, moving to her present location at 310 Main street West in 1966. Her husband joined her in the business in 1967. Her shop carried high-end ready-to-wear from Canadian, American and European designers. 

Despite the loss of her husband in 1999, Milli continued to grow the business, expanding to a Toronto location on Avenue Road in 2004.

On April 13, 2019 the Art Gallery of Hamilton opened a retrospective about the shop entitled Milli: A Celebration of Style.

Added January 4: We saw the Hamilton Art Gallery exhibition. There were some nice pieces retailed through Milli, but mostly by lesser-known designers and companies that created quality copies of dresses in popular styles, like Marty Modell and Peter Keppler. However, most bore only Milli store labels with no original designer labels.

The exhibition was very crowded to the point that it was difficult to see some of the garments. The dresses were shown on platforms with art and sculptures, which instead of making us look at the dresses as art, put the dresses into a context of a tableau as if the dresses were being worn at a gallery gala opening. The show closes February 9.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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