In Milli: A Celebration of Style, ensembles that span trailblazing fashion retailer Milli Gould’s first half-century in business are exhibited in conversation with works from the Art Gallery of Hamilton’s permanent collection. This is the first comprehensive exhibition focused on Milli and the first exhibition at the AGH to put fashion in dialogue with art.
The thematic show features nearly fifty ensembles of couture and ready-to-wear on-loan from the wardrobes of Milli’s devoted clients, some dating as far back as 1964 when Mrs. Gould founded her eponymous Hamilton shop. These, along with photographs, ephemera and a recreation of the Milli atelier, highlight the business and artistry of retailing, an often overlooked aspect of the fashion industry.
Subtle evening ensembles and bold flashes of extravagance stand together as nuanced expressions of the Milli aesthetic. However it is the stories which accompany them, that help illustrate fashion as a force for change and Mrs. Gould as a quiet activist and champion of beauty who outfitted women as they took on new spaces in society.