Armand Caron was active in the field of fashion for nearly half a century. In the late 1920s, initially inspired by the mail-order catalogues his family received in Saint-Marcel-de-l’Islet, he learned to draw designs for clothing and embroidery. Several years later in Quebec City, he began working in dry goods stores like Audet et Giguère on St. Jean Street, which sold fabric.
In 1943, he went into business with a co-worker from this store, opening a ladies’ fashion shop under the name Armand et Jeannine, at 45 St. Louis Street. This location helped draw clients like government employees and women from Quebec City’s Upper Town.
In the early 1950s, dresses that he made for some contestants in the province-wide “Miss Cinéma” competition garnered attention in Montreal, giving his career a boost.
Around 1956, Armand Caron began making clothes for Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau’s wife, Marie-Claire Boucher Drapeau, who became a client for ten years. While working in Montreal, he met many prominent figures from the arts, radio and television, including Fernande Giroux, who modelled for him. His growing reputation helped him attract new clients like Élaine Bédard, Mariette Duval, Denise Filiatrault, Marjolaine Hébert, Dominique Michel and Denise Pelletier.
Élégance et Beauté – L’Officiel de la mode canadienne, a fashion magazine published in the early 1960s, presented some of his creations, including iconic draped dresses that earned him recognition as a “sculptor” of fashion.
Armand Caron also designed costumes for television, theatre and opera, such as a production of Georges Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, produced by Quebec City’s Société lyrique d’Aubigny in 1974.
An artist with a bohemian nature, he also worked as a couturier in his clients’ homes, moving from place to place in Quebec and the United States. On October 12, 1985, assisted by young couturier Pierre Tremblay, he presented a fashion collection at Quebec City’s Hilton Hotel. This event celebrated the 40-plus year career of one of Quebec’s noteworthy couturiers. Armand Caron died in Quebec City on August 5, 1991.
Godin, Christine et Jocelyne Mathieu. “Armand Caron. Précurseur de la haute couture québécoise”, Cap-aux-Diamants, vol. 4, no 2, 1988, p. 55-57.
Jocelyne Mathieu, Dicomode
Cynthia Cooper, McCord Museum