Designer: Claire McCardell (American, 1905–1958)

Manufacturer: Townley Frocks (American, founded 1929)

Date: ca. 1956

Culture: American

Medium: cotton, rubber, metal

Credit Line: Gift of Irving Drought Harris, in memory of Claire McCardell Harris, 1958

Accession Number: C.I.58.49.5


On the hanger, this McCardell dress is nothing but a huge tentlike A-line dress with a modicum of gathering in the back. Its form is wholly assumed on the body, when the belting causes the fullness of the skirt to be realized and the dimensions of waist to shoulders and the projection of the bust give silhouette to the halter top. Once again, the grid discipline of the cotton plaid complements the fluffy, amorphous contingency of the dress. McCardell designed for herself, but the truth is that the transformative possibilities of her clothing allow for one modern woman and thereby for every modern woman.