“Auto-Élégance” was the name given to events featuring fashion collections and cars. First organized by the Ligue de la jeunesse féminine, these events were held in Montreal in the late 1930s and drew crowds to Molson Stadium.
Ligue members came up with the idea after learning that Parisian couturiers presented their new creations alongside the latest car models.
The format was repeated in the 1950s by the Association of Canadian Couturiers who made it one of the main vehicles for presenting its members’ fashions. In the 1950s and 1960s, Hotel Mont Gabriel in the Laurentians was the favourite venue for organizers of the Auto-Élégance fashion shows. The event was also held at least once at the Estérel, another Laurentian hotel. In 1956, Auto-Élégance added several other activities, including an art show entitled L’Art au soleil, which featured artist Jean-Paul Mousseau, among others. In 1965, an Auto-Élégance event was presented at Place des Arts in Montreal, as a benefit for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. The last two editions of Auto-Élégance were coordinated by Roberte Bolduc and held in 1977 and 1979 at Hotel Mont Gabriel. They paired fashion collections with vintage cars, motorcycles and even roller skates.
Giroux, Jacqueline, 1989. Yvette Brillon. Femme de cœur et femme de têtes, Longueuil, La Société historique du marigot de Longueuil, p. 57, 59.
L’Art au soleil (programme), Mont-Gabriel Club, Piedmont, 16 June 1956. — Présentée dans le cadre de «Auto-élégance».
Cynthia Cooper, McCord Museum