Runway Fall 1988 Mary McFadden Couture Red Pleated Dress w Gold Edged Ruffle Detailing
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 need 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. We also found a runway photo of it so that you can see just how specatular it is on.
This dress is made from McFadden's fabric in her signature pleating technique and is the twin of the dress that walked the runway that season. 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 is a brilliant true red that is flattering on most skin tones. The lightness of the fabric lets the dress fall over you beautifully and skims over your body underneath to be very flattering. The neckline is scooped and set slightly wider across the shoulders. The sleeves are long and the pleating allows then to adjust to fit your arm. The bodice is cut to skim over you from the shoulder to the hip with one of her signature curving panel wrapping over the front and the back back waist to shoulder. It is made to give the illusion that the dress is wrapped around you. The skirt underneath falls to the floor in a column of pleat work. A longer skirt like this is not always seen in her later work. She preferred 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. The detailing on the one side of the waist is spectacular. There is a fanned ruffle of pleat work edged in gold that runs down either side of the hidden set side zipper there. Then on the front hip are two rolled flower like additions that are also made of the red pleats and edged with gold. These sit at the base of the front curved panel and add a stunning detail. 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 closes with a hidden set side zipper. 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. Padding in each shoulder. Tagged a vintage 10
Sleeves: 24.5" and the upper arm will expand to 22" around if needed and fit any size smaller then that
Bust: 17-19" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 15-16" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: to 22" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 60" from top of shoulder to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: MED-LRG
Reference Photo: Fall 1988 Mary McFadden Runway.
This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.
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