Carolyn Schnurer (American, born New York, 1908–1998 Palm Beach, Florida)
Textile manufactured by S. Edwards (American)
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Carolyn Schnurer, 1951
Not on view
During her twenty-year career in fashion, from 1944 to 1964, Carolyn Schnurer (1908-1998) was a pioneer in the newly emerging American sportswear industry. Directing her designs toward young active women, Schnurer developed coordinates and dresses that were unfussy, required minimal foundation garments and could be worn for a variety of occasions. Particularly renowned for her culturally-inspired resort collections, rather than a blatantly costumed appearance, Schnurer's designs maintained a classic American silhouette while incorporating the cultural theme in fabric selection or construction detail.
From Schnurer's "Flight to India" resort collection, this dress was featured in the January 1951 issue of HARPER'S BAZAAR. The textile, custom made for the collection by S. Edwards, features rich colors, metallic pigment and bold patterning that were likely inspired by the mirrorwork embroidery of the Kutch region of Gujarat in northwestern India, an area that Schnurer was particularly intrigued by during her travels. The bare-backed bodice is an adaptation of the chaniya choli traditionally worn by Kutch tribal women, a style which became prevalent throughout India in the late 1940s.