KCIDigital Archives

The KCI Digital Archives on the KCI website presents image and text information for the objects in the collection, arranged in chronological order.


© The Kyoto Costume Institute

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c. 1951

Claire McCardell
Claire McCardell clothes by Townley
claire mccardell clothes by townley I.MAGNIN & CO.
Two shades of grey wool jersey swimwear. Shoulder and frontal closure by brass hook and eye.
Inventory Number(s)
AC11777 2008-5-2

McCardell's talent for sporty and casual design can be clearly seen in this beachwear. The sharp and sophisticated lines at the collar and around the shoulder and the diaper-silhouette bottom are highly innovative, and her choice of wool jersey and the lack of bones and waist nippers go against the fashion for swimsuits of the period. Instead of constraining the wearer, she uses visual cues from the design to emphasize the lines of the female body, creating a suit that is simple but full of elegance. The tiny brass hooks are a detail that can be seen as a McCardell trademark. Produced at a time when America's economy was rapidly expanding, this design is a marvelous embodiment of her approach, grasping the prevailing trend and pushing forward the democratization of fashion.