Vintage late 1970s rose satin evening ensemble from Mary McFadden consisting of tunic and floor length skirt features her signature Fortuny-style pleating and has a Renaissance-inspired belt wrapped in gold braid to sling low about the waist.
The tunic, which falls to just above the knees, has a jewel neck, gently puffed sleeves with small shoulder pads, and a keyhole opening in back that closes with attached satin ties. A narrow "flounce" at the lettice-edged hem adds interest to the overall silhouette.
The column-straight skirt closes with a side zipper and has no waistband; it is rather, piped in satin like the neckline of the tunic.
The allusion to historical periods (in this case, Greek antiquity and the Renaissance), as seen through McFadden's signature lens, is typical of the designer as is the combination of fluid silhouette, rich color, and exotic detail. A nearly identical McFadden evening set in a different colorway is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, dated to 1978.
Both pieces are labelled "Mary McFadden"; tunic is tagged a size 6 and blouse is tagged a size 8. Exact measurements are: Tunic bust 35",shoulders 13.5", waist 26", hips 34", sleeves 23", and length 30"; skirt waist 26.5", hips 36", and length 38". The belt is 7 feet long.
Mary McFadden began to make her own clothes of African silk while living in Rhodesia with her second husband. After returning to the U.S., one day she wore one of her ensembles into the Vogue offices, causing such a stir that before long she had placed a run of three designs with Henri Bendel, and within two years had sold over a million of her garments. Inspired by the pleated garments on classical Greek statues, her goal was to have her designs "fall like liquid gold against the body". Initially, she worked with silk, but switched to synthetic fabric so that the micro-pleating would hold better; her system was to source fabric in Australia, have it dyed in Japan, and then heat-set the pleats in the U.S.
This stunning ensemble is in excellent condition.
Proud Member of the VFG Vintage Fashion Guild
Item ID: aub33
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