History of Costume: Claire McCardell

History of Costume: Claire McCardell

Claire McCardell, an American fashion designer, is regarded as the pioneer of ready-to-wear, casual, and comfortable American clothing in the twentieth century. From the late 1920s to 1950s, McCardell designed varied types of women’s clothing, all of which were functional, reasonably priced, and at the same time stylish. Although McCardell’s designs were considered underwhelming when compared to the grandeur of her contemporaries in the 1930-40s, such as Christian Dior, Coco Chanel, and others, the fact is she designed dresses with quintessentially American looks and purposes that clearly avoided the formal aspects of the French couture. “The clothes must be thought of in their historical context ‒ designs stretching back 40, 50 and even 60 years to an age of stiff crinolines, padded shoulders and the dominance of French.

 

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