Marylla van Ginkel Memorial Funds

The Winnipeg Foundation


Marylla van Ginkel.
Photo courtesy of Ramon Zelech.

Marylla van Ginkel was a woman ahead of her time. As a fashion designer, she forecasted trends and created modern looks for some of Winnipeg’s most prominent women. In her business and personal life, she was the model of independence – at a time when most women felt confined to domestic life.

Mrs. van Ginkel trained in Poland, where she was born, as well as New York. She brought her determination, love of fabric and meticulous craftsmanship to Winnipeg in the early 1930s, where she opened the business she would run for more than five decades. Her specialty was gowns, and she designed each to suit a client’s shape and distinct personality. She showed her work on runways in Chicago and New York and created wardrobes for television and theatre.

Mrs. van Ginkel was a strong supporter of Winnipeg’s performing and visual arts community and took lessons in singing, drawing and painting. She had a lifelong passion for opera but, as a woman determined to support herself, she gave up dreams of performing professionally in favour of a more practical career.

Marylla van Ginkel passed away in 2013 at age 101. In her memory, her son Ramon Zelech has established several funds supporting the arts and other causes. Together, they form a loving tribute to a woman who was always on the vanguard, cherished the local arts scene, and flourished in Winnipeg.