The Lacombe Center for the Performing Arts was in a hurry on Saturday, May 7, due to the first Heritage fashion show. The Lacombe Historical Society and the Center for the Performing Arts have teamed up to put on a show with 20 models wearing clothes from the 1860s to the 1920s.
Several community members wore old-fashioned clothing, including Lacombe City Councilors Cora Hoekstra, Thalia Hibbs and Scott Dallas, Reeve Barb Shepherd County and several others.
Historical pieces of clothing were exhibited throughout the Lacombe Performing Arts Center, including dresses, suits, hats and other items. The models wore clothes created and designed by Anna Lenters who is chairman of the Innisfail and District Historical Society board and owner of Wren Originals. Not only did Lenters design most of the nightwear, but she also designed period-appropriate clothing for the Michener House Museum and Blacksmiths Shop in Lacombe.
Lenters says it took her about 10 years to sew for 20 garments. She learned how to sew at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, but specializing in vintage styles required little research.
“[I learned] by examining historical clothing by taking it, turning it upside down and looking at how it is constructed, and then adapting it to a modern woman whose bones are bigger, ”Lenters said.
The exhibited female historical pieces were very small, often mixed with children’s sizes. Lenters says the small size is probably due to malnutrition at the time.
“We are well fed. These people from the 1800s were not well fed. “Their bone structure is stunted,” she explained.
Melissa Blunden, executive director of the Lacombe and District Historical Society, says special attention is paid to small pieces.
“One of our dresses is from 1910 and the waist line [is so small], we had to order a special model just to fit on that dress. It is the same with the dress from 1875. Many people asked us if it was a children’s dress. “No, it was an adult woman who was probably 4’10 or 4’11,” Blunden said.
Along with smaller bodies, life expectancy during that time was also much shorter at about 50 to 60 years.
With the show, Lenters wanted to draw special attention to the role of women in history and family life. She gave information about the pieces, as well as the narration for the show.
“I started thinking about women and their role in the family, their legal rights, lack and lack of identity. I hope I touched on that, “she added.
Thanks to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the event took two years to prepare, but Lacombe Performing Arts CEO Rosanna Kerekes was quite pleased with how it turned out.
“It was such a unique event. The same thing has been happening over and over in the community for years. We got that opportunity to change things and change things a little bit. I think this is the perfect event for that, “Kerekes said.
Proceeds from the event will be shared between the Lacombe and District Historical Society and the Lacombe Performing Arts Center.
The Historical Society is looking forward to opening its blacksmith shop and Michener House Museum during May’s long weekend. They also recently opened their own exhibition on residential schools called ‘Legacy of Hope’ at Lacombe’s Flat Iron Building.
The Lacombe Center for the Performing Arts is looking forward to setting up a more inclusive program, including music for people with dementia and other summer programs. Kerekes is also looking forward to launching the entire Music in the Park season this summer.