Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Bathing suit

Designer:
Claire McCardell (American, 1905–1958)
Date:
ca. 1946
Culture:
American
Medium:
wool
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. A. Moore Montgomery, 1970
Accession Number:
1970.153.1a–c
Not on view
McCardell was among the first in the post-War period to discern not the "man in the gray flannel suit," but the woman in gray wool, an inconspicuous, but notably chic outfit for the beach combining a bare halter with a wrap skirt. This was the American counterpart to the contemporary invention in France of the bikini; McCardell's is a two-piece ensemble that respects American standards of propriety. McCardell wraps with a fullness of cloth both at the bust and waist, diminishing the overt sexuality of the minimal bikini and providing a sizing that will flatter a variety of body types in that most sensitive of garments in body and self-esteem, the bathing suit.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "American Ingenuity," April 2, 1998–August 16, 1998.

Shisedo Gallery. "A Century Exhibition of Bathing Costumes," May 19, 1977–June 7, 1977.

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