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Fashion designer Claire McArdle has created clothes for real women

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A fashion designer in the 1950s Claire McCardell Washington female journalists were honored at the gala ceremony President Harry S. Truman. The Frederick, Md., native gave them and other women something men have always taken for granted: pockets.

But McCardell does more than just provide a place to stack notebooks and pens. With her deceptively simple designs, she changed the way American women dress.

Macardel makes a good supplement Anna Janice Miller, a 19th-century advocate of dress reform, was featured on this space last week. Like Janice Miller, he’s not content to toe the party line or toe the line.

As a writer Elizabeth Evitz Dickinson Save a 2018 Washington Post Magazine story about the designer:McCartel’s creations contain the alchemy many of us still long for: the ability to command the narrative of our own bodies and be seen as human rather than eye candy.

McCardell was born in 1905 to a southern belle mother and a bank executive father. She was the oldest of four, the only child. She played with her brothers. The joy of running and moving freely must be accompanied by the despair that comes with losing freedom.

She wanted to study fashion, but her father insisted she study home economics at Hood College. A year later, she convinced her parents to let her go to Parsons School of Design in New York. Then she went to Paris, studied how to fit and bought designer clothes to separate.

And how did it come together? If there is not enough idea of ​​how women should live. “I don’t like flashbacks,” McCardel said later. “Comfort in the rain, in the sun, comfort for active sports, I like to sit still and look good. Clothes should be useful.”

In the year In 1938, McCardell returned to New York, working for clothing manufacturer Tawley Frocks. Her famous story comes from what happened one August day of that year in Townley’s showroom: she almost knocked out a customer from a retail store while walking through the room.

As Evitts Dickinson wrote: “She was wearing the dress that McCardell had worn that day: a red woolen shift without shoulders or darts, and no waist to frame the body into the ideal hourglass figure.”

The buyer found that dress more interesting than anything else in Townley’s collection and bought it back from McCardell to put it into production. The dress was known as “monastic” for its cassock-like simplicity.

A ready-to-wear dress that looks good on anyone and can be accessorized with a belt at the waist. In the year In 1942 McCardell introduced the Danish wrapper “Popover”. “Women can do their own housework and still look smart,” wrote the New York Times.

Other McCartel creations include blue-jean seams, pantsuits, separates and zippers on the sides of dresses. During the war, when leather was distributed, she collaborated with Capezio on the line of ballet houses, moving from the barre to the street.

Evitts Dickinson wrote: “The 1940s became the decade of the McCartel woman – wearing casual shirts, pleated skirts or trousers with pockets, being bold, perhaps, and without heels, and feeling confident in her elegant attire.”

In 1944, McCartel won the Coty Fashion Award. Two years later, she won the best sportswear designer award. Her ethical behavior continues, most recently in an $898 designer cotton poplin dress. Tory Burch It has a “timeless shape designed for modern thought and movement.”

McCardell in 2011. He died of cancer in 1958 at the age of 52. A few years ago, the Frederick Art Club, founded in 1897 by a group of women artists, art students, and art lovers, wanted to honor women. Club members want to “break the bronze ceiling” by helping to correct the lack of images for women. In preparation, the Frederick Historical Society presented the case to Claire McCardell.

“We’re blown away,” he said. Linda MoranThe Chair, a project by Claire McCardell. “Now we go, ‘Holy cow, this is our guy.'”

The club presented a statue Sarah Hempel IraniFrederick the sculptor, who plunged herself deeply into McCardell’s life. “I make friends with dead people,” Hempel Irani told AnswerMan.

Hempel Irani produces many religious works, including images of saints. “Each saint has a character, something that shows who that saint is,” she said. “It’s a language seen as code. You know it when you see the person holding the keys Saint PeterHe said.

What would Claire McCardell’s character be like? Hempel Irani played with scissors before recalling the designer’s favorite photo.

She bought an old dress form from an antique shop and asked her long-time model. Dakota Lee – “In another statue is the Virgin Mary” – to play around. “She dropped her hand over him and got down into the familiar fashion pose. ‘Don’t move! This is amazing.’

A 7 ½-foot bronze statue is unveiled at the east end of Carroll Creek Park in Frederick on Oct. 17, 2021. “I was wearing jeans with pockets, belted at the waist,” Hempel Irani said.



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