The New School Archives Digital Collections

Claire McCardell fashion sketches ➔ Townley Frocks 1957


Related people/organizations

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


circa 1943

Work Type



8.5 in (width) x 11 in (height)


McCardell was at the height of her career during this year after receiving an increasingly large amount of publicity and recognition after World War II. By this time, she had firmly established all of her “McCarellisms”, a term that she coined to describe her signature designs and features such as wrap closures, spaghetti ties, hoods, and pedal pushers. The sketches in this series are emblematic of McCardell’s style and feature a variety of garments such as jumpsuits, wrap dresses, playsuits, and two-piece ensembles. The designs include diverse looks and silhouettes, ranging from sheath and columnar dresses to bubble skirts and tent dresses. Prominent names mentioned in the inscriptions include Vogue, Liz Ruth, and Galey Lord, a fabric manufacturer. McCardell was diagnosed with terminal cancer during the fall of 1957 and passed away in the spring of 1958. Her friend and fellow Parsons alumna Mildred Orrick helped her design her final collection, which was shown in January 1958. Numerous sketches within this series include Orrick’s handwriting, which is usually found on the backside of the pages. It is probable that some of the sketches in this series were produced while McCardell was confined to a hospital room.


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

Related Terms

Kellen Design Archives


binders 121-124



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