March 15, 2007

Claire McCardell, Redefining Modernism

Writing about Bonnie Cashin yesterday got me thinking about another great show I saw at FIT (back in 2000, I think) on fashion designer Claire McCardell. She was a sportswear designer in the 1930s - 50s, and is most famous for her simple tie-on and wrap-around dresses. Look at those amazing plaids! My personal favorite, the "Popover Dress," with its large pocket and attached oven mitt, was sold as a "utility garment" in the 1940s for $6.95, or around $90 in today's dollars. (Picture above taken from the Met's Costume Institute Archive.)

I guess I was half expecting to come across some great websites dedicated to her work, but I couldn't find much more than a short Wikipedia article and a few other short bios. There is a book out called Claire McCardell, Redefining Modernism that I have since reserved from the library, and she herself wrote a book in 1955 called What Shall I Wear? which I can't seem to find much information about either. Anyway, enjoy these photos, and keep your fingers crossed that someone out there is working on a more complete website documenting her life and her designs!


baffle said...

Cute and pert!

Personally, I prefer unbelted looser fashions.
Us thicker-waisted gals cannot abide by those belts and ties!

M. Fred said...

Hey- nosy librarian here! Have you tried searching worldcat for the Claire McCardell book? Depending on your local public (or university, if you are affiliated), you might be able to Interlibrary Loan the book.

here is the search I did:

Anonymous said...

You truely gotta love those dresses! Thanks so much for sharing!