40s Claire McCardell Playsuit in Red Plaid

SKU: 00419-016
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Iconic mid-century designer Claire McCardell knew how to flatter a woman's figure. This blue plaid bubble romper is no exception. Elasticized halter strap (can be tucked in for a strapless look), with additional elastic running through channels at the top, ruched waist, and leg openings. Super-long ties criss-cross around your middle however you prefer. We're told the owner wore this as a swimsuit, but we'd recommend keeping it out of chlorine and salt water! From the late 1940s and the Jamieson estate.

Labels: Claire McCardell Clothes by Townley

Some background info:

From Wikipedia: Claire McCardell (1905–1958) was an American fashion designer in the arena of ready-to-wear clothing in the 20th century. From the 1930s to the 1950s, she was known for designing functional, affordable, and stylish women’s sportswear within the constraints of mass-production, and is today acknowledged as the creator of the "American Look", a democratic and casual approach to fashion that rejected the formality of French couture.

With thanks to the Vintage Fashion Guild: McCardell's career took off when she became assistant to Townley Frocks head designer Robert Turk in 1931. When Turk died in 1932, McCardell completed the fall line and was soon made head designer. McCardell's signature touches, which she called "McCardellisms," included bias cutting, metal hook fasteners, wrap tie fasteners, and asymmetrical closings. The monastic dress of fall 1938 was her first major success. The dress had no specified front, back or waistline, and could be tied to suit the wearer. Best & Co. produced it, marketing it as the Nada Frock, and it was soon included in the Townley line.

In 1938, Townley closed due to legal trouble and McCardell worked for other outlets including Hattie Carnegie. When Townley reorganized and reopened in 1941, McCardell's was reinstated as head designer, and her name added to the label. By 1955, she was recognized as a uniquely American, groundbreaking designer, and Time Magazine featured her in a cover story. In the article, Neiman-Marcus president Stanley Marcus is quoted as saying, “[McCardell] is one of the few creative designers this country has ever produced.” She remained at Townley until her death in 1958.

McCardell on the cover of Time in 1955

This McCardell Playsuit is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Fiber/Care: unmarked, but evidence (and feel) suggests a cotton/silk blend, gentle wash or dry-clean
Condition: there are a few small areas along the ties where the seam is open. someone may have tightened or even replaced the elastic at the top of the bodice, as a small length is exposed at the seam edge (see photo, this is on the interior and is not visible when worn). 
*This playsuit is freshly laundered and ready to wear.*
Garment Measurements:
~ this will best fit someone with an average or short torso ~
    elastic above bust: stretches from 21-35" (53-89cm)
    bust: maximum 38" (91.5cm) perhaps even a bit more
    waist: stretches from 20-34" (50.8-86.25cm)
    hips: maximum 42" (106.5cm)
    bodice side seam: 5.5" (14cm) from underarm to
    waist elastic
    shorts side seam: 12.5" (31.75cm) from waist elastic to
    leg elastic
    leg openings: stretch from 5.5-13" (14-33cm) in diameter

Note: International customers, please contact us for help with shipping rates.

(BDV SKU: 00419-016) 


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