Designer Mary McFadden American

Not on view

Mary McFadden’s anthropological approach to fashion design finds a perfect expression in this pleated column dress. Drawing on ancient cultures and civilizations, McFadden created her own pleated synthetic fabric, the 1977 “marii” fabric, named after the designer. The synthetic charmeuse fabric originated in Australia, was then hand-dyed in Japan and machine-pressed in the U.S. She frequently stated that there was no greater beauty than pleated cloth on the human column and that her “marii” fabric had “to fall like liquid gold on the body, like Chinese silk”. This unadorned dress leaves the body in its natural shape and does not constrict it, taking its maxim from Eastern modes of dress such as the Japanese kimono and the Greek chiton. McFadden was known to place her models under the pediment of the New York Public Library, so they would look like Greek caryatids, because the pleated garments of Greek and Egyptian sculptures were closest to her heart.

Dress, Mary McFadden (American, born New York, 1938), polyester, American

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