McCardell, Claire

McCardell, Claire,

1905–58, American fashion designer, b. Frederick, Md. She began her career as a model and assistant designer for Robert Turk in 1929. Her clothes were functional with clean lines and an American look. She is known for her wrap-around sashes, monastic dresses, harem pajamas, and large pockets with top stitching. She also designed bias-cut dartless clothes with an easy-to-wear relaxed look.


See her What Shall I Wear (1955); J. Yohannan and N. Nolf, Claire McCardell: Redefining Modernism (1998)

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McCardell, Claire

(1905–58) fashion designer; born in Frederick, Md. She graduated from Parsons School of Design, and in a long career with Townley Frocks (1932–58) she revolutionized American fashion with her casual and comfortable women's clothes, achieving a popular name and recognition then rare for American fashion designers. Her innovations included separates, the wrap-and-tie "popover" housedress (1942) and swimsuit (1943), the leotard, and a widespread use of wool jersey and cotton.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.