Raised in Manchester, England, Pat McDonagh and her husband immigrated to Toronto in 1966. The following year Pat opened a boutique called 'The Establishment' in the trending neighbourhood of Yorkville. She carried imported English fashions as well as some of her own creations made by seamstresses in the basement of her Toronto home.
Printed wool jersey pant suit with stylized M's (1971/1973) by Pat McDonaghOriginal Source: http://fashionhistorymuseum.com/
Double Knit Pantsuit, 1972
By 1970, Pat began working with manufacturers and over the next thirty years her work appeared under many different labels.
This pantsuit, inspired by the English boutique Biba, was produced for a line that was backed by Canadian manufacturer Dylex.
Plastic Raincoat by Pat McDonaghFashion History Museum
Plastic Raincoat, 1973
This was part of a commission to create clothing for Glad from garbage bags. The collection included this jacket, a raincoat, a bathing suit and a wedding dress!
‘Weekender’ Collection (1983) by Pat McDonaghFashion History Museum
'Weekender' Collection, 1983
The Weekender collection was her most successful design and was produced from 1975 to 1984.
The eight coordinated separates fulfilled any woman's need while on holiday, and everything fit into a nylon carrying bag that unzipped into a jacket.
Brown Linen Dress with Triangular Pockets (Spring 2010) by Pat McDonaghFashion History Museum
Brown Linen Dress with Triangular Pockets, Spring 2010
As designers know, fashion is hard. McDonagh accepted financial backing from Baskin Robbins for her spring 2010 collection and used chocolate ice cream cones as inspiration...
The collection received positive reviews but few sales.
Collection of Pat McDonagh Fashion (1996/2011) by Pat McDonaghFashion History Museum
Gala gowns, c. 1999 - 2011
In 1998, McDonagh moved to new premises near Spadina Avenue. She received a lifetime achievement award in 2003 from the Fashion Design Council of Canada.
Her work by then had mostly shifted to making couture event gowns for Toronto socialites.
Pat McDonagh (1934 - 2014)
After her death, her family donated her remaining archives to the Fashion History Museum which inspired this retrospective memorial exhibition.
Highlights from the exhibition Canadian Fashion Story: Pat McDonagh
Originally on display at the Fashion History Museum March 12 – April 24, 2016, and Seneca College in May 2016.
All artifacts are from the collection of the Fashion History Museum.