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Basha Gold

Vintage Mary McFadden Couture Dramatic Sleeves Beaded Bodice Ivory Pleated 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 ivory Fortuny style pleats, this elegant, couture Mary McFadden gown begins with a jewel neckline and dramatic puff sleeves that reach the wrist. The bodice features a beautiful embroidered floral pattern in gold, white, silver, green, blue, yellow, and red thread that is adorned with hand appliquéd beads on a shimmering ground of iridescent sequins in shades of peach, mint green, and silver. The effect is opulent and jewel-like, elevating this gown to a work of art that gives the eye something new to appreciate from each angle.

Size: 4 US

Size estimate: Small


Shoulders: 15 inches (seam to seam)

Sleeves: 25 inches

Bust: 34 inches

Waist: 26-28 inches

Hips: 36 inches

Length: 51 inches

The bodice is fitted throughout, the edges of the embroidered flowers creating a delicate scalloped waist and neckline that offers a nice textural contrast with the sumptuous, silk- like pleats that spiral around the sleeves and create a pleasing rhythm throughout.

The straight skirt falls to a maxi-length several inches above the ankles in dainty ruffled hem, creating a simple, columnar silhouette that allows the bodice to take center stage. A magical addition to the discerning fashion lover’s wardrobe, this beautiful gown can easily be styled with strappy heels and statement accessories and is the perfect choice for a wedding, gala, or special occasion.

This vintage Mary McFadden gown is lined in organza at the bodice and is fitted with thin shoulder pads. It closes with side and back painted metal zip closures, and looks as though it has never been worn. 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.

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