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Art & Design

Bonnie Cashin, Woman’s dress and coat ensemble, 1968, Gift of Philip Sills

Bonnie Cashin

Woman’s dress and coat ensemble

Bonnie Cashin, designer American, 1907-2000
Woman’s dress and coat ensemble, 1968
Wool with suede trim; plain weave and wool jersey knit lining
Gift of Philip Sills 80.171.13

Independent-minded Cashin forged a minimalist sensibility in American fashion. By the 1950s, her designs consisted of simple lines and basic geometry highlighted by unusual fabrics in layered compositions, as in this dress and coat ensemble. The resulting silhouettes later became known as casual elegance. Cashin worked closely with textile designer Dorothy Liebes, a highly influential handweaver and designer for industry. Part of her legacy to American design was in familiarizing consumers with unusual color palettes, distinctive textures, and synthetic textiles, such as Dacron and Lurex. As creative director of Goodall Fabrics in 1940, Liebes successfully translated the textures and colors of handweaving into mass production.

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