Bonnie Cashin (American, Oakland, California 1908–2000 New York)
Dorian-Macksoud Corporation (American)
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of T. Assalty, 1959
Not on view
Bonnie Cashin created award-winning clothing known for its casual comfort. As the daughter of a dressmaker, she was exposed to textiles and fashion nearly from birth and began designing professionally in 1925, at age 17. Prior to establishing her own company in 1951, she designed for Adler & Adler and Twentieth Century-Fox. Thereafter she worked with manufacturers such as Sills and Co. and Coach to offer fashion and accessories in every price bracket. She was adept at manipulating organic components into modern basics which could easily be mixed, matched and layered for the active woman. Her brightly colored leather trim, metallic toggle hardware and shaped knits are still a recognizable trademark of her work today. In 1962 the Brooklyn Museum, with her assistance and donations, staged, "Bonnie Cashin Presents Her Living Sketch Book," which was a retrospective of her work. Cashin's forethought to preserve her past while still designing is one which makes her work still accessible today.
The bold use of fuchsia, orange, green and yellow modernizes the classic plaid pattern on this dress which evokes the flow of Asian styling. Cashin was known for infusing Asian robe techniques into her designs with astounding effect and it can be seen even in this subtle form of wide straight sleeves and wraparound style closure.