Evening ensemble

Designer Claire McCardell 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.

McCardell, always inventive, showed her diverse use of simple fabrics by making this evening dress out of typical daywear fabric, cotton and linen. The silhouette of the dress is reminiscent of the Empire period, as seen in the waist line of the dress and jacket. The kimono treatment of the sleeves is a signature of McCardell and it heightens the design aesthetic of the piece. Quite casual overall, the single formal accent is that of the pearl buttons on the coat.

Evening ensemble, Claire McCardell (American, 1905–1958), linen, cotton, American

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