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

Coco Chanel in Her Atelier Dressing Romy Schneider (1962)

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Shahrock Hatami, Coco Chanel and Romy Schneider, 1962 via

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Shahrock Hatami, Coco Chanel and Romy Schneider, 1962 via

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Shahrock Hatami, Coco Chanel and Romy Schneider, 1962 via

00/00/1960. Coco Chanel and Romy Schneider.

Shahrock Hatami, Coco Chanel and Romy Schneider, 1962 via

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Shahrock Hatami, Coco Chanel and Romy Schneider, 1962 via

00/00/1960. Coco Chanel and Romy Schneider.

Shahrock Hatami, Coco Chanel and Romy Schneider, 1962 via

Revolutionary Belle Epoque Fashion: Jeanne Margaine-Lacroix

Jeanne Margaine-Lacroix has been neglected by fashion historians. She inherited her couture house from her mother Mme. Margaine, in 1899. The following year she changed the name to Margaine-Lacroix.

She influenced the new slender line of fashion. She was famous for her revolutionary corsetless dresses and her ground-breaking front-lacing corsets. In the 1900s, Paris was the fashion capital of the world. Couturiers routinely sent mannequins to the racecourse, wearing their latest designs. Her models caused a sensation at Longchamp in 1908.

Three mannequins walked onto the racecourse dressed in blue, white and havane brown creations by Margaine-Lacroix. According to newspapers, spectators called the three women a “monstrosity”, accused them of being semi-naked and showing revolting décolletage .

However, soon women everywhere were wearing dresses after Margaine-Lacroix’s design.

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In the Spring of 1908, three women walked onto the Longchamp racecourse in Paris and caused a scandal by the semi-naked clothes they were wearing via

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Longchamp racecourse, Paris 1908 via

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Tanagréenne back drape on Sylphide dress by Jeanne Margaine-Lacroix. Here is an example of her slender, corsetless line, the robe-tanagréenne. It is worn by her favourite model, who small bust and simple hairstyle were avant-garde for the time and contrasted strongly with the generally accepted ideals of fashionable feminine beauty in the first decade of the twentieth-century, 1908 via

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Sylphide dress with Tanagréenne back drape by Jeanne Margaine-Lacroix, 1908 via

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Margaine-Lacroix mannequins pictured in the Parc de Vincennes in March 1910, wearing the new jupe-culotte – an early version of trousers via

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March 1910. Margaine-Lacroix mannequins in the new jupe-culotte via

A Collection of Vintage photos of the Biba London Fashion Store

Iconic clothes store Biba was founded by Polish born fashion designer Barbara Hulanicki OBE (b. 1936). She opened her Biba shop in the Kensington district of London in 1864 with the help of her late husband, Stephen Fitz-Simon.

The shop soon became known for its stylishly decadent atmosphere and lavish decor inspired by Art Nouveau and Art Deco. It became a hangout for artists, film stars and rock musicians, including Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Marianne Faithfull.

In the shop, a young clientele bought affordable mini-skirts, floppy felt hats, feather boas, velvet trouser suits and unisex T-shirts dyed in rich, muted colors. Incidentally, Anna Wintour started in fashion as a Biba employee.

After the shop’s 1975 demise, Hulanicki continued to work in the fashion industry, designing for labels such as Fiorucci and Cacharel and, from 1980 to 1992, designed a line of children’s wear, Minirock, licensed to the Japanese market.

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The London Biba store via

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 Queue for the Biba store via

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Inside the Biba store via

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The food department was sectioned into separate units that each contained one type of item. There was a section modelled after Hulanicki’s great dane Othello in which you’d find only dog food via

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Shopping at Biba, 1960s via

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Some Biba sales-girls via

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Barbara Hulanicki, designer and founder of Biba, in her first boutique in Abingdon Road, Kensington, London, mid 1960s. (Photo by Charles Edridge/Getty Images) via