Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Dress

Designer:
Claire McCardell (American, 1905–1958)
Manufacturer:
Townley Frocks (American, founded 1929)
Date:
1949–50
Culture:
American
Medium:
cotton, brass
Credit Line:
Gift of Irving Drought Harris, in memory of Claire McCardell Harris, 1958
Accession Number:
C.I.58.49.19
Not on view
Wrapping provided for McCardell the shaping not only of the material itself but also of the sections of the body that remain uncovered. Thus, this McCardell dress, seen from front and back, offers very different views. In the 1950s, under the exceptional impact of the "New Look," McCardell could achieve the popular silhouette without sacrifice to her faith in wrapping and tying. Even the grand bow on this tartan plaid dress could make it in haughty circles of high fashion, even while never giving up simplicity of wrapping. Similarly, the plaid cotton, without pretense and with menswear associations, is rendered rich through the amplitude and abundance expressed in the feminine and practical bow.
McCardell plays the deliberate shaping of the bodice and the grid system of the tartan against the latitude and the freedom of the soft cotton and the process of tying.
Marking: [label] "claire mccardell clothes/by townley"
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