claire mccardell--your new favourite old designer
We didn't post on Canada Day cos we were too busy fulfilling our patriotic duty of partying poolside with a beer in one had and a Caesar in the other. We know you were doing the same. Great work, Canada! Luckily the hangover lifted just in time to wish a big ol' happy birthday to our good friend, America!
Today, in celebration of Independence Day, we bring you American designer, Claire McCardell (1905-1958), your new favourite human. Not only is Claire credited as creating and defining the American Look as we know it (just let that sink in…the American Look…the Look of AH-MER-IC-AH), she simultaneously redefined women's fashion, perfected the prototype for ready-to-wear and basically lead the revolution of women's sportswear. Yah. We know. That's a lot of things. Big things. That's why she's so. freaking. amazing.
Her design philosophy was simple--clothes should be comfortable, practical, feminine and fun. She wasn't much for fame or money (for most of her design career her name wasn't even on the label!) it was about creating fashion that fit the modern woman's lifestyle. This meant less layers and cleaner, fresher cuts with humble fabrics such as denim, jersey, and calico. Her most notable innovations were playsuits, the Monastic dress (a tent-like dress that could be belted--or not belted), the Popover, spaghetti belts, and her unbelievably modern swimwear. She also popularized Empire or "baby" silhouettes, top-stiching (on fabric other than denim), spaghetti straps, drawstring necklines & waistlines, halter necklines, separates, and ballet flats (yes, she popularized the shoe you wear practically every single goddamn day). Are you losing your mind yet?? She also loved leotards, hoods, capris, deep-pockets in evening gowns, and bright orange lipstick. Are you kidding me?! I can't even right now.
Here's a glimpse of some of our McCardell faves...we're pretty sure you'll want to wear all of them and you'll mostly likely be talking to your computer screen like, "No. freaking. way. was that made in 1944, that looks like it was made for me, for my own body, right now." Yah, Claire was that good.
Below: a few McCardell-esque picks if you're looking to celebrate with (or without) our neighbours to the south this weekend…enjoy!