Claire McCardell Wearing Amazing Dresses of Her Own Creation (1945)

Claire McCardell (May 24, 1905 – 1958) was an American fashion designer in the arena of ready-to-wear clothing in the 20th century. She is credited with the creation of American sportswear.

In 1942, McCardell created her famed “Popover Dress.” It was a response to a Harper’s Bazaar challenge to create something fashionable you could wear to clean the house and then wear to a cocktail party. The simple grey dress came with a matching potholder which fit into the dress’s pocket. The “Popover Dress” sold for $6.95 and over 75,000 were sold in the first season alone.

These dresses became a staple of McCardells collections and over time she made version in different lengths and fabrics. The “Popover Dress” received a citation from the American Fashion Critics Association and in 1943, McCardell won a Coty Award.

Beginning in 1945, McCardell was featured as an “American Look” designer by Lord & Taylor’s department store.  In 1946, McCardell won the Best Sportswear Designer Award and in 1948 she won the Neiman-Marcus Award.

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Claire McCardell in a Dress of her creation, 1945 via

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Claire McCardell in a Dress of her creation, 1945 via

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Claire McCardell in her Futuristic Dress (cut only of triangles), photographed by Erwin Blumenfeld, 1945 via

Richard Avedon & His Amazing Stylish Muse Dovima

Dovima (1927-1990) was reputed to be the highest-paid model of her time. Richard Avedon (1923 – 2004) was an American fashion and portrait photographer. An obituary published in The New York Times said that:

“his fashion and portrait photographs helped define America’s image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century”

Dovima was the muse of Richard Avedon who depicted her, in a legendary photograph posing in a Christian Dior evening dress with elephants from the Cirque d’Hiver, Paris, in 1955.

In 2010, a record price of £719,000 was achieved at Christie’s for a unique seven-foot-high print of the photo. This particular print, the largest of this image, was made in 1978 for Avedon’s fashion retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and was bought by Maison Christian Dior.

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Richard Avedon, Dovima with elephants,

evening dress by Christian Dior, Cirque d Hiver, August 1955 via

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Richard Avedon, Dovima with elephants,

evening dress by Christian Dior, Cirque d’Hiver, August 1955 via

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Dovima, dress by Claire McCardell, Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt, January 1951 via

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Richard Avedon, Dovima dress by Claire McCardell, Egypt, January 1952 via

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Richard Avedon, Dovima, evening dress by Jacques Fath, Paris, August 1950 via