1980s Mary McFadden Couture Blue & Deep Dusky Pink Pleated Dress w Extra Long Braided Belt
Mary McFadden patented her Fortuny inspired pleating technique just a couple of years after launching her label in 1973. By the eighties she had many licensing agreements and her dresses were being made on a larger scale. She called her pleated fabric 'marii' after her own name. She went around the world to source the fabric she wanted and her pieces ended up being made out of a synthetic charmeuse that she sourced from Australia. The fabric was then sent to Japan to be hand-dyed and the pleating technique was done by a machine press in the United States. Mary was known to say frequently that there was no greater beauty than pleated cloth on the human body and she said then when she developed her 'marii'fabric her aim was to have it 'fall like liquid gold on the body, like Chinese silk.' This is from her higher end couture line that had a more limited production and sold at higher end shops. It is an amazing example of her work.
This dress is made from McFadden's fabric in her signature pleating technique. Like many of her best pieces the pleating gives it the comfort of a bias cut and it is very sexy while still feeling refined. The colour combination of this one is brilliant. A deep blue makes up the majority of the dress and that is the colour of one sleeve and then it angles across the body with the entire lower portion of the dress being that colour. An angled stripe of a dusty sapphire blue cuts down the center and then runs up the back. The remainder of the dress is that amazing dusky pale pink. The lightness of the fabric lets the dress fall over you beautifully and skims over your body. The neckline is scooped and the sleeves are set to just above the elbow. The pleating on them allows them to adjust to fit your arm. The dress skims over you from the shoulder to the hem and it has its matching belt that you can use to cinch the dress in at the waist or you can wear it very loose and open. The belt itself is gorgeous. It's extra extra long so you can wrap it around the waist or you can even tie it in different ways around the bodice or hips. It is made by braiding strips of the different colours used in the dress and each end has long fringes of all those colors. The bottom of the dress ends in a ruffle of the same pleated fabric for an extra little kick when you walk. The dress is very long and these longer pieces were not always seen in her later work. She came to prefer to design pieces that ended well above the ankle so you could see the shoe underneath so the longer pieces are a bit rarer and harder to find. No matter how good it is in the photos it is better in person and it is wonderful once on the body. It is beautiful example of her work. Excellent condition
Unlined and slips over the head to wear. Hand finishes. The easy cut and give of the fabric should allow it to fit a range of sizes. It looks to have been worn very little if at all. A tiny strip of padding at the edge of each shoulder.
Sleeves: 13" and the upper arm will expand to 22" around if needed and fit any size smaller then that
Bust: 19-28" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 16-30" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 18-29" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 61" from top of shoulder to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-LRG
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