Designer Claire McCardell American
Manufacturer Townley Frocks American

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.

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

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