The New School Archives Digital Collections

Claire McCardell fashion sketches ➔ Townley Frocks 1939


Related people/organizations

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


circa 1939

Work Type



8.5 in (width) x 11 in (height)


Although many of McCardell’s signature design elements had surfaced by this time, including spaghetti straps and full skirts, McCardell was still visiting the Paris collections for Townley Frocks, Inc. and drawing inspiration from French designers throughout this year. Townley became financially strained from battling over copyrights to McCardell’s wildly successful Monastic dress around this time, and was eventually forced to close due to the overwhelming struggle. Prominent New York retailer Hattie Carnegie, who was known for selling high-end adaptations of Paris designs, recognized McCardell’s talent and hired her once Townley shut its doors. Two sketches in this series labeled #156 and #157 are in color and do not appear to have been made by McCardell. The creator of these sketches is unknown.


Yohannan, Kohle and Nancy Nolf. Claire McCardell: Redefining Modernism. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1998.

Related Terms

Kellen Design Archives


binders 50-51



Use Restrictions 

There’s more! What you see on this site is only what is viewable online. Please visit our website to find out more about what’s in the archives.