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Profile photograph of Claire McCardell.
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Claire / McCardell

Open through November 2024

Claire McCardell redefined women’s fashion in America during the 1930s –1950s and she continues to influence American sportswear today. By designing for modern American women like herself, McCardell became synonymous with the American fashion rebellion.

Beneath her dynamic, confident, and strong-willed business persona, Claire was a shy introvert in conflict with this perceived identity. Through family letters, personal interviews, and archival documents, juxtaposed with examples of McCardell’s designs spanning her career, this exhibition gives a more intimate look at the woman behind the iconic label.

This exhibition is curated by Tory Burch Claire McCardell Fashion Fellow Robyn Levy. Support for this Fellowship is generously provided by the Tory Burch Foundation.

Main image: Rayon faille trapeze-style Monastic dress, made by Claire McCardell Clothes by Townley, 1950s. Maryland Center for History and Culture, Gift of Center Stage, 1998.10

Inset image: Portrait of Claire McCardell holding notepad and pencil, photograph by Wynn Richards (1888-1960), c.1945. Maryland Center for History and Culture, H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Claire McCardell Photograph Collection, PP238.04.021

Support for this exhibition is generously provided by*

Betty Cooke and Wm. O. Steinmetz

Popover Dress
The Coby Foundation, LTD
Rebecca Katz, in honor of Barbara Katz

American Sportswear
The Delaplaine Foundation, Inc.
Ruth Shaw, Inc., in honor of Barbara Katz

Debbie and Walt Farthing
Laura Gamble
Mark Hoffberger
Pam and Allan Malester
Barbara Meger
Nancy and David Paige
Sylvia Lee Parker
Mary Charlotte Parr
Cynthia Rief and Megan Wolfe, in honor of our mothers
Mrs. Karen Ruppert

*as of December 16, 2022

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