Vera Maxwell (American, 19011995)
Brown–and–white donegal tweed and cocoa–brown wool jersey, printed silk, plastic, tan leather
Gift of Vera Maxwell, 1953 (C.I.53.61a–f)
New possibilities for travel prompted many reasoned changes in womenswear. Clothing had to be versatile, suitable to differing weather conditions, and capable of traveling or being packed without crushing and looking rumpled. Maxwell addressed those many demands and then added plastic-lined pockets for the ultimate in practicality. Diaper, washcloth, toothbrush, and other necessities could be carried with ease in such sensible pockets. Yet in Maxwell creations, as for Cashin and McCardell, the pockets are purposefully conspicuous: they are declared in the design as if to challenge the utility of similar outfits made without their functional and prosaic benefits. Maxwell offered an intelligent equilibrium reminiscent of an architectural functionalism that deliberately benefits from its most practical features.