Designer Claire McCardell American
Manufacturer Townley Frocks American

Not on view

Claire McCardell is remembered as a pioneer of American fashion. After studying at Parsons and living in Paris, she returned to America to design functional, affordable clothes for the American woman. Her simple use of natural fabrics, such as cotton, denim and wool combined with flattering silhouettes filled a vacancy in women's fashion. Her first success was the tent-shaped Monastic dress, which had no form, but when belted became body-revealing and flattering. For the length of her career, McCardell designed inventive, sometimes daring looks that were mass-produced down to every last spaghetti tie and brass hook.
The pairing of the dress and jacket can be seen in the cut of both pieces as well as the matching green topstitching of the coat, which correlates with the green in the plaid of the dress. Both pieces are cut with a high-waist, which is typical of the Empire period and inspired McCardell's work. Making this ensemble unique, the cut and button placement match exactly on both pieces, while the collar of the jacket overcompensates that of the dress. The choice of wool fabric, the use of large buttons, and the heavy topstitching are all characteristic of the designer.

Ensemble, Claire McCardell (American, 1905–1958), wool, American

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