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Vintage Mary McFadden Couture Black Pleated Sheer shoulder Column Gown
An accomplished designer, Mary McFadden studied in New York and Paris, worked at Dior, and served as the editor of Vogue South Africa among other positions and awards. She started her own label in the 1970s, incorporating global inspirations and classic silhouettes in her designs. She notably created pleated garments that resemble the famous pleated silk dresses by Mariano Fortuny which eventually became her trademark. “The effect I'm searching for is to have the fabric fall like liquid gold against the body” said McFadden of her ‘Marii’ technique, and she seems to have accomplished just that.
Made up of Fortuny style pleats, this striking black gown begins with a simple jewel neckline and long sleeves that reach the wrist. Sheer black insets at the shoulders, back of the bodice, and stomach add a revealing, seductive note that offers a nice textural contrast with the silk-like pleats. Concealed eye and hook closures along the center front placket can be opened to create a plunging V neckline, allowing this dress to go from demure to risqué and back, depending on the desired look.
Size estimate: MED/LRG
Tagged Size: 8 US
Shoulders: 17 inches
Sleeves: 22 inches
Waist: 28/29 inches
Hips: 38/39 inches with some give
Length: 60 inches
Horizontal pleats at the sleeves, bust, and waistline offer a nice visual contrast with the vertical pleats of the skirt while accentuating the natural lines of the body, creating a pleasing rhythm throughout. The skirt falls from a drop waist to a maxi length at the ankles in a dainty ruffled hem, creating a classic columnar silhouette that remains elegant throughout.
The dress is finished with black piping at the waistband, neckline, and bust, adding crisp definition and a smooth texture that ties the dress together. A beautiful and versatile addition to the discerning fashion lover’s wardrobe, this gown is meant for the spotlight and is the perfect choice for a wedding, evening soiree, or special occasion.
This Mary McFadden gown has zip closures at the ends of the sleeves and closes with a concealed side zip and eye and hook closures at the front of the bodice. It is unlined save for nude silk lining at the bodice, which may be removed by a seamstress at the buyer’s discretion. In excellent condition, this gown has been professionally eco dry cleaned and pressed. High-quality vintage pieces like this are yours to live in and love while increasing in value every year. It’s never too soon to start collecting them, as an investment in your wardrobe—and in yourself.