Germaine et René
About 1947 - after 1967
Dress (detail), Germaine et René, about 1964. Gift of Jean-Guy Cantin, M9188.8.131.52 © McCord Museum
René Villeneuve began his studies at Collège de Saint-Laurent in Montreal, and then enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Boston to study drawing and painting. When he returned to Montreal, he entered the École des métiers commerciaux to learn sewing. Germaine Dansereau was a teacher there, after having worked as a dressmaker for Ida Desmarais for 20 years. Germaine and René opened their atelier in 1949. The design duo, known only by their first names, was based in Montreal. In 1954, Germaine et René helped found the Association of Canadian Couturiers and participated in the new Association’s activities. The two couturiers had complementary strengths, with Germaine supervising production quality and René focussing more on the design aspect. In 1959, the two admitted they were very much influenced by the House of Dior.
Germaine et René took part in the fashion shows at Montreal’s Ritz-Carlton in September 1954 and the Pierre Hotel in New York City in December of the same year. Their names can also be found in the program of the fashion show presented at Expo 67.
Cynthia Cooper, McCord Museum
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