The New School Archives Digital Collections

Claire McCardell fashion sketches ➔ Townley Frocks 1935


Related people/organizations

Claire McCardell (designer)
Townley Frocks (Firm) (commissioner)


circa 1935

Work Type



8.5 in (width) x 11 in (height)


Sketches in this series are rougher and simpler than those from previous years, perhaps indicating that this was a turning point in McCardell’s design work for Townley Frocks, Inc. Although McCardell was still following trends originating from Parisian couturiers, it does appear that major elements of her own design style began to surface around this time. An article from Women’s Wear Daily published on May 15, 1935 mentions that McCardell was currently using full skirts to “give a smart silhouette”, as well as a great deal of jersey fabrics that had become popularized by French designers such as Edward Molyneux and Alix Barton (Madame Grès). McCardell would continue to favor jersey and full skirts throughout her career, and was particularly inspired by the European dirndl skirt that she became familiar with while traveling in Austria. Sketches in this series show a gradual shift from straight skirts to wider and more flared skirts later in the year, confirming the ideas presented in the aforementioned article. The inscriptions on the sketches in this series only refer to Coco Chanel, although it is likely that other Parisian designers inspired some of the other looks.


“Interviews With Arrivals Highlight Fuller Silhouettes.” Women’s Wear Daily. May 15, 1935: 3, 27.; Yohannan, Kohle and Nancy Nolf. Claire McCardell: Redefining Modernism. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1998.

Related Terms

Kellen Design Archives


binders 22-28



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