Until April 24, 2022
Parachute: Subversive Fashion of the ‘80s
From its beginnings inspired by New Wave subculture to its position as a veritable international fashion sensation, the Parachute brand from Montreal was recognized from New York to Tokyo for its visionary, bold apparel and innovative concept stores. Through the exhibition Parachute: Subversive Fashion of the ‘80s, explore the history of the brand, a go-to label for stars like Madonna, Peter Gabriel and David Bowie, and relive the exuberance of the 1980s!
Admire the androgynous, avant-garde creations of Parachute and learn more about the brand through some sixty outfits, including two stage costumes from the personal collection of Peter Gabriel, over 140 archival documents (sketches, advertisements, promotional photographs and images taken in Montreal’s night clubs), as well as exclusive interviews, and video excerpts of fashion shows and concerts.
Founded in Montreal in 1977 by British clothing designer Nicola Pelly and American architect and urban planner Harry Parnass, Parachute was active in the world of fashion until 1993. The brand translated the cultural anxieties of the early beginnings of the digital age into avant-garde clothing that aspired to change people’s perspectives and shake up the status quo.
Several factors contributed to the brand’s rise to global phenomenon. The exhibition explores them through five areas:
- New Wave Beginnings recounts the early years of the brand, which was inspired by the emerging Montreal New Wave scene, when the co-founders met in the design studios of Montreal-based fashion retailer Le Château.
- Collage & Hybrid presents Parnass and Pelly’s design techniques, a postmodern approach that synthesized sartorial references from various sources to produce challenging and contemporary silhouettes.
- Underground Images illustrates Parachute’s striking, elegant promotional images, which solidified the brand’s subversive, avant-garde reputation while driving consumer desire.
- Music Videos, Rock Stars and Miami Vice explores the advent of MTV, MuchMusic and Musique plus, networks which broadcast music videos 24 hours a day and had a tremendous impact on the pop culture of the 1980s. This section also references the stars who wore Parachute, including Don Johnson in Miami Vice, Michael Jackson, Madonna and the band Duran Duran.
- The Store Experience looks at the cutting-edge Parachute concept stores, notably those in Montreal, New York City and Los Angeles, whose high-tech, industrial aesthetic, at once minimalist and grand, created unique public spaces where people could meet and be seen.
Live virtual opening of the exhibition on November 17, 2021 hosted by Geneviève Borne. With Nicola Pelly, Alexis Walker and Suzanne Sauvage.
Not to be missed!
Be an insider
Subscribe to our mailing list, and be the first to know about our exhibitions and activities.Subscribe now
FREE ADMISSION FOR 100 DAYS
Celebrating the Museum's centenary, visitors can enjoy free admission for 100 days thanks to the support of BMO Financial Group.Book your tickets
Easy access to the Museum
Parking nearby ($) • Bike and Bixi • Bus 24 • McGill MetroMore information