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Art & Design

Claire McCardell, Dress, ca. 1950, Gift of Mrs. Warren E. Teixeira, RISD Textile Design Department

Claire McCardell

Dress

Claire McCardell American, 1905-1958
Dress, ca. 1950
Wool plain weave
119.4 cm (47 inches) (center back length)
Gift of Mrs. Warren E. Teixeira, RISD Textile Design Department 58.173.1

Created the year McCardell was awarded her most treasured honor, a certificate of achievement from the Women’s National Press Club, this dress highlights many of the sportswear design elements for which she is known. Often referred to as “McCardellisms,” such trademarks as the use of metal fasteners—-here in the form of brass hooks and eyes running along the opening of the bodice—-emphasize McCardell’s love of the functional combined with the feminine. Deftly constructed, this dress incorporates her favorite sleeve type, bias cut in one piece with the bodice. Celebrated for her modernity and hailed as a champion of the American Look, McCardell saw comfort and practicality as her primary design criteria. These attributes garnered her designs immense commercial success during World War II and thereafter.


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