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Anita Pineault

Born in Saint Moïse, 1917 - Died in Kingston, 2009


1940s - 1980s

Hat, Anita Pineault, 1967. Gift of Quebec Pavillion, M967.93.2 © McCord Museum

During the Second World War, Anita Pineault (née Chouinard), who was in her mid-twenties, took a job at the Nadel Hat company located on Victoria Square in downtown Montreal. She ended up working there for nearly 20 years. Initially a labourer, she learned the basics of the profession, eventually showed artistic talent and was made a designer. In the early 1960s, Anita Pineault founded her own millinery business on Clark Street.

She went on to run her atelier for 25 years, selling her hats in Canada, the United States and Europe. Her designs could be found in many prestigious department stores, notably Saks Fifth Avenue in New York and Eaton’s and Morgan’s in Montreal. At the height of her popularity, the business employed between 60 and 80 workers. Hats sporting the Anita Pineault label were generally classic models, known for their details and quality finishing. Her favourite materials were felt, straw and fur and she used a wide variety of decorations.

Over the course of her career, Anita Pineault created women’s uniform hats for many organizations, including Air Canada, Canadian Airlines and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and was the milliner of choice for many political figures.

In addition, her hats were often selected to accessorize the clothing of Quebec’s most prominent fashion designers, whether it was for fashion shows, ad campaigns or magazine fashion spreads. She notably worked with designers Serge et Réal, Leo Chevalier and Michel Desjardins. Retiring from the industry in the mid-1980s, the milliner received the Griffe d’Or for lifetime achievement in 1993.

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