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Claire Robert

Born in Quebec City, 1916 - Died in Miami Beach, FL, 1971

Designer

1934 - 1951

Extract from Claire Robert scrapbook (detail), 1946-1951. Gift of the Blouin and Lesage Families, Fashion, Fabrics and Clothing Collection C609, M2016.118.1 © McCord Museum

Claire Robert, née Houde, was a Quebec City milliner. Although her career was quite short, her work was recognized across Canada and internationally.

Born into an artistic family in Quebec City, she started sewing at a very young age to help her mother make the family’s clothes.

As a young woman, she moved to Montreal to study to become a teacher, but returned to Quebec City after six months, having decided to become a hat designer instead. She began working as an assistant in a small hat shop, where her work caught the eye of the stylish women of the city, giving her career a boost.

In 1939, she married Louis Robert, a publicist who helped establish and run her business so she could focus on the creative side.

In addition to selling her hats in her Quebec City store, she sold them across Canada in shops and department stores such as Eaton’s, as well as in Paris and New York.

Newspapers like The Gazette, La Presse, The Globe and Mail and Women’s Wear Daily regularly featured her designs. After closing her store in 1951, Claire Robert began spending more time in Florida, where she continued to produce custom-made clothing and hats for wealthy American clients.

The archives of her career, in the form of a large scrapbook, are held by the McCord Museum.

Publication date

01/02/2019

Author

Cynthia Cooper, McCord Museum

© McCord Museum 2019