Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Ensemble

Designer:
Claire McCardell (American, 1905–1958)
Manufacturer:
Townley Frocks (American, founded 1929)
Date:
1934
Culture:
American
Medium:
wool
Credit Line:
Gift of Claire McCardell, 1949
Accession Number:
C.I.49.37.49a–f
Not on view
The truism of McCardell's work is that she understood her time and women of her era. But she was also a visionary. In 1934, McCardell prepared this ensemble of interchangeable travelling items that would allow the wearer to get off a plane almost anywhere in the world and to be ready for activities from the casual to the formal. These correlated options for dressing were a prophetic gesture of being modern and efficient. While some were still packing steamer trunks and piling up luggage, McCardell was already thinking of how to pack everything needed into one carry-on bag. McCardell was disappointed that this ensemble did not sell in 1934 and gave it to The Costume Institute in 1949 because it was, despite commercial failure, one of the outfits she most believed in. Ironically, it would take the Jet Age before McCardell's quixotic and failed concept in 1934 would be recognized as a brilliant problem-solving idea.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Four Seasons," April 8, 1997–August 17, 1997.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "American Ingenuity," April 2, 1998–August 16, 1998.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Art of Fashion," October 23, 1967–January 1, 1968.

Victoria and Albert Museum. "Modernism: Designing a New World," April 6, 2006–July 23, 2006.

MARTa Herford. "Modernism: Designing a New World," September 16, 2006–January 7, 2007.

Corcoran Gallery of Art. "Modernism: Designing a New World," March 17, 2007–July 29, 2007.

Related Objects

Sunglasses

Artist: Claire McCardell (American, 1905–1958) Date: ca. 1955 Medium: plastic Accession: 1997.193.7 On view in:Not on view

Playsuit

Artist: Claire McCardell (American, 1905–1958) Date: 1950s Medium: rayon, silk Accession: 2002.198.6a, b On view in:Not on view

Evening ensemble

Artist: Claire McCardell (American, 1905–1958) Date: 1939–40 Medium: (a) cotton (b) silk Accession: C.I.58.49.10a, b On view in:Not on view

Dress

Artist: Claire McCardell (American, 1905–1958) Date: 1939–40 Medium: wool Accession: C.I.49.37.50a, b On view in:Not on view

Raincoat

Artist: Claire McCardell (American, 1905–1958) Date: ca. 1956 Medium: cotton, plastic Accession: 1979.468a–c On view in:Not on view