The New School Archives Digital Collections

Claire McCardell fashion sketches 1931 – 1958

Collection, KA0082


Claire McCardell (1905-1958) graduated from the New York School of Fine and Applied Art (later, Parsons The New School for Design) in 1928 and went on to become a pivotal figure in the creation of American ready-to-wear clothing. McCardell received the Coty American Fashion Critics Award in 1944, and in the same year returned to Parsons as a critic and instructor, a position she held for the rest of her life. The Kellen Design Archives has approximately 9,000 of McCardell's working sketches, covering the years 1931-1958; the bulk were produced for Townley Frocks. The collection also includes sketches by Mildred Orrick and Scaasi (Arnold Isaacs) for Townley Frocks.

Related Archival Materials Note

Biographical materials about Claire McCardell as well as photographs of the designer visiting and lecturing at Parsons will be found in the Kellen Design Archives' Parsons School of Design Alumni Association records (PIC.03.002.1). The Kellen Design Archives also holds the papers of McCardell's classmate, friend, and Townley collaborator, Mildred Orrick (KA.0067) and two garments designed by Claire McCardell.

Related collection

Parsons School of Design Alumni Association records

Collection Guide

Guide to the Claire McCardell fashion sketches

Related people/organizations

Hattie Carnegie
Claire McCardell
Arnold Scaasi
Townley Frocks (Firm)

There’s more! What you see here is only what is viewable online; in most cases it is only a small portion of what is available. Please visit the collection guide to find out more.