Haute Historian. Red, White and McCardell

July 8, 2009 • Fashion


Bonnie J Brown for Second City Style Magazine

Oh the joys of celebrating Independence Day! What American doesn’t
enjoy a long weekend spent drinking beer around the barbecue, listening
to a ball game and playing a game of bean bag toss (or something as
equally as mindless)? And while some American’s were honoring our
forefathers for making the holiday possible, I was silently thankful
for Claire McCardell. Claire, who was named by
Life magazine in 1990 as one of the most influential American’s of the
20th Century, was the driving force behind the development of what
American fashion is today.

Born in 1905 in Franklin, Maryland, Claire McCardell was to become
the main influencer for the modern American sportswear designer.
Whether it was the casual, yet chic Ralph Lauren sundress you wore to the picnic last weekend or the Michael Kors clean cut slacks that you relaxed in at the baseball game or even the Calvin Klein bathing suit you caught some rays in by the pool, the stylish and comfortable American style you were looking to convey originated from Claire’s designs from the 1940’s and 50’s.

While Claire initially studied at Parsons The New School for Design in New York, she also studied in Paris, where she became inspired by French couture designer, Madeleine Vionnet.
Madeleine was famous during the 1930’s for her Grecian style dresses;
she used a bias cut which gave her garments a loose, flowing look and
feel. Claire immediately fell in love with the bias cut and adapted this technique into her own designs giving her clothing a structured fit, but still allowing the wearer to move with comfort and ease.

Read more "Red, White and McCardell" here.

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