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29 Mar

Claire McCardell’s American Style to Be Spotlighted at Museum

The renewed interest within the work of Claire McCardell continues to be going strong, with the Museum at FIT gearing up for Wednesday’s opening of “Claire McCardell: Practicality, Liberation, Innovation.”

Many years have passed because the designer pioneered the American look, but her influence on American sportswear prevails. Zippers, pockets, ballet flats and wrap dresses were all a part of the designer’s arsenals of firsts. Tory Burch, whose spring-summer 2022 collection was inspired by McCardell, is a champion of her work. In some way, 65 years after her death in 1958 on the age of 52, the designer’s work is gaining more interest with recent generations of creatives.

Strong-willed and pragmatic, McCardell’s indelible mark — the understated (but not undone) casual American look — was forward-thinking within the previously cookie-cutter dressing of the mid-’50s. Well-proportioned and inexpensive, her clothes, which spanned from bathing suits to ready-to-wear, were designed with a big selection of body types in mind. Understanding that “clothes may make the lady, but the lady also can make the garments,” McCardell once said, “When the dress runs away with the lady, it’s a horror.”

Nine McCardell-crafted garments drawn from the Study Collection on the Museum at FIT shall be on display through April 16 on the FIT campus. Seniors in the varsity’s art history and museum professions undergraduate program Nico Frederick, Christina Pene, and Emma Sosebee have curated the show, which also includes reproductions of promoting,

Along with the student-curated show on the Museum at FIT, the “Claire McCardell” exhibition is on view on the Maryland Center for History and Culture’s Museum in Baltimore through November. McCardell’s designs are featured with family letters, interviews and archival documents. The show was curated by the Tory Burch Claire McCardell fashion fellow Robyn Levy, whose fellowship was made possible by the Tory Burch Foundation. Last yr Burch penned the foreword for the reissue of McCardell’s 1956 book “What Shall I Wear? The What, Where, When and How Much of Fashion.”

On one other front, the Museum at FIT will unveil “¡Moda Hoy! Latin American and Latinx Fashion Design Today” on May 31. The exhibition will have fun the work of designers of Latin American descent including stalwarts like Aldolfo Sardiña, Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, Alexandre Herchcovitch, Edmundo Castillo, Victor Alfaro, and Haider Ackermann, in addition to Willy Chavarria, Maria Cornejo, Isabel Toledo, Gabriela Hearst, Jonathan Cohen, Nous Etudions’ Romina Cardillo, Luar’s Raul Lopez and Kika Vargas. With text in English and Spanish, the show will feature 60 objects from the museum’s everlasting collection, including multiple recent acquisitions. The show will run through Nov. 12.

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