Evening dress

Designer: Claire McCardell (American, 1905–1958)

Manufacturer: Townley Frocks (American, founded 1929)

Date: 1950

Culture: American

Medium: silk

Credit Line: Gift of Irving Drought Harris, in memory of Claire McCardell Harris, 1958

Accession Number: C.I.58.49.4a, b


McCardell's enthusiasm and acumen for European fashion history is well documented, but her interests extended East as well. This evening dress suggests Chinese roots in its textile, pleating, and color, but also evokes Japanese origins in its wide sash (like an obi) and columnar silhouette. In a global eclecticism, the dress is cut like a poncho with its top crisscrossed over the bodice to create the kimono–like surplice neckline.