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Mary McFadden

American, b. 1938

Less could have been expected from a well-bred society girl like Mary McFadden, who stepped out of the safe confines of the haut monde to create iconic designs for evening dresses, jackets, skirts and other items inspired by ancient and ethnic cultures and traditions. Fashion, in fact, was not initially on her agenda.

“I fell into it backwards,” she told the New York Times in 1979.

Born in New York but raised on a cotton plantation in Memphis, Tennessee, McFadden spent a few months at the Traphagen School of Fashion in 1956 and moved on to study sociology and anthropology at Columbia University. Afterward, she spent a short period of time in public relations at Christian Dior during the early 1960s, but she was unsure exactly what would lie ahead for her. McFadden decided to relocate to South Africa with her first husband, who oversaw production of the De Beers mines. While there, she began to design her own clothing — tunics that featured African prints, made of silk she’d found in Madagascar — because she couldn’t find anything that suited her.

In 1970, following two divorces, McFadden returned to her native New York City and was offered a job as an editor at Vogue magazine. Her colleagues admired the sophisticated garments she made in South Africa and had been wearing to work, and the magazine staffers pleaded to feature her designs, which meant she’d need to go into business in order to make them available to readers. So, in 1973, McFadden took the jump, soon becoming known for refreshing kimono-shaped jackets and richly colored pleated dresses that evoke the freedom of a Greek chiton — a far cry from the dull routine office attire for working women at the time. A collection of jewelry followed, and in 1977, McFadden patented her “marii” fabric, a pleated synthetic charmeuse that fell “like liquid gold on the body, like Chinese silk.”

In 1976, McFadden won her first Coty American Fashion Critics’ Award, and a few years later, she entered the Coty Award Hall of Fame. While her business shuttered in the early 2000s, the beloved designer’s timeless styles endure.

Shop vintage Mary McFadden day dresses, accessories and jewelry on 1stDibs today.

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Designer: Mary McFadden
Mary McFadden Couture Jacket Sequins Evening Cocktail Formal Embellished Vintage
By Mary McFadden
Located in Port Saint Lucie, FL
Authentic, preowned, vintage jacket, made by Mary McFadden Couture, most likely in the 90s. Originally sold by high end boutique Nina Rayner of Delray Beach. Made from black sequins...
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1990s American Mary McFadden

Mary Mcfadden 1980s Printed Robe
By Mary McFadden
Located in Scottsdale, AZ
Discover elegance and sophistication with the Mary McFadden 1980s Printed Robe – a true gem from a bygone era. This exquisite robe, designed by Mary McFadden, showcases timeless beau...
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1980s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden 1980s Printed Slip Dress
By Mary McFadden
Located in Scottsdale, AZ
Step into elegance with the Mary McFadden 1980s Printed Slip Dress – a stunning piece that encapsulates the essence of timeless beauty. This floor-length maxi dress, designed by the ...
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1980s Mary McFadden

1980s Mary McFadden Royal Blue Teal Velour Vintage 80s Caftan Maxi Dress Kaftan
By Mary McFadden
Located in San Diego, CA
Beautiful early 80s MARY MCFADDEN for I MAGNIN royal blue and teal long sleeve velour caftan / maxi dress ! Soft velour fabric has plenty of stretch. Fortuny style pleated sleeve cuf...
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1980s American Mary McFadden

Vintage Mary McFadden Couture Burgundy Long Sleeve Gown
By Mary McFadden
Located in Beverly Hills, CA
Beautiful 90s Marcy Mcfadden Couture Burgundy Long Sleeve V neck gown with gold frog closures and embellished waist. LARGE size Measurement : Bust: 42...
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1980s American Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Couture Green Pleated Sculpted Short Sleeve Dress, 1980s
By Mary McFadden, Marry Mcfadden
Located in Boca Raton, FL
Mary McFadden couture green fortuny pleat dress. The dress is lined throughout the bodice in a green silky feeling fabric, the sleeves are lined in...
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Late 20th Century Mary McFadden

1990s Mary McFadden Black Pleated Grecian Dress
By Mary Mc Fadden, Mary McFadden
Located in Beverly Hills, CA
1990s Mary McFadden Elegant Black pleated one shoulder Gown. Size 4 Measurement Bust 34”/ Waist 26”
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1990s American Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Couture Vintage Dress Blue Fortuny Style Pleats in Size 4
By Mary McFadden
Located in Portland, OR
This is a vintage Mary McFadden Couture dress in a beautiful shade of blue. This pretty vintage fortuny style pleated dress has butterfly sleeves, a fitted waist, and a pretty neck...
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1980s American Mary McFadden

1980s Mary McFadden Royal Blue Fortuny Pleated Size 4 Mosaic Vintage 80s Gown
By Mary McFadden
Located in San Diego, CA
Gorgeous 1980s MARY MCFADDEN for NEIMAN MARCUS royal blue fortuny pleated evening gown ! Features Avant Garde ruffle sleeves. Thousands...
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1980s American Mary McFadden

Vintage Mary McFadden Couture Off-the-Shoulder Gown
By Mary McFadden
Located in New York, NY
VERY BREEZY presents: This is truly one of the best Mary McFadden dresses I've ever come across— in all honesty, if it fit me better, I would hang onto it for my personal collection!...
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Late 20th Century American Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Black & Metallic Palazzo Pant Suit, C.1990
By Mary McFadden
Located in Atlanta, GA
C.1990 Collection by Mary McFadden two piece pant suit consisting of tunic top and palazzo pants. The top zips at the back with a black silk bodice vented at the sides and sleeves i...
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1990s American Mary McFadden

Vintage Mary Mcfadden Couture Black Pleated Sheer shoulder Column Gown
By Mary McFadden
Located in Boca Raton, FL
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 he...
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1990s American Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Blouse and Skirt Set
By Mary McFadden
Located in Waterford, MI
Patterned silk blouse and skirt set. Removable belt. Mandarin collar. Pockets in skirt. Made in Korea. *Condition: Great vintage condition. Missing one button at neckline ( as pict...
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1980s Mary McFadden

Vintage Mary McFadden Pink Beaded Sequin Mesh Nylon Necklace Collar
By Mary McFadden
Located in San Diego, CA
Beautiful vintage MARY MCFADDEN pink beaded and sequined collar ! Features thousands of hand-sewn sequins and beads throughout the entire piece. Hook-and-eye closures at the back nec...
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Late 20th Century Mary McFadden

1980s Mary McFadden Black Sequin Beaded Dickie Vintage 80s Crop Top Shirt Vest
By Mary McFadden, Mary Mc Fadden
Located in San Diego, CA
Amazing 80s MARY MCFADDEN black beaded dickie / crop top ! Features hundreds of hand-sewn sequins and beads. Buttons at top left shoulder. Perfect under a blazer, or under a cardigan...
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1980s Mary McFadden

Vintage Mary McFadden Dusky Lavender Golden Macrame Cut Out Back Gown
By Mary McFadden
Located in Boca Raton, FL
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 dusky lavender gown...
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1980s Mary McFadden

Vintage Mary McFadden Couture Turquoise Blue Wide Palazzo Leg Pants + Belt
By Mary McFadden
Located in San Diego, CA
Chic vintage MARY MCFADDEN turquoise blue fortuny pleated high waisted wide leg trousers and sash belt ! Signature McFadden pleats pack easily. hidden zipper up the side with hook-an...
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Late 20th Century American Mary McFadden

1980S MARY MCFADDEN Multicolor Pastel Polyester Jacquard Dress
By Mary McFadden
Located in New York, NY
1980S MARY MCFADDEN Multicolor Pastel Polyester Jacquard Dress
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1980s Mary McFadden

1990s Mary McFadden Couture Size 2 / 4 Burgundy Sequin Pleated Vintage 90s Dress
By Mary McFadden
Located in San Diego, CA
Beautiful early 90s MARY MCFADDEN COUTURE burgundy / maroon and gold long sleeve cocktail dress ! Features signature fortune pleated bodice. Rhinestone, bead and sequin encrusted wai...
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1990s American Mary McFadden

Evening skirt suit with sequin and rhinestone embroidered Mary Mc Fadden Couture
By Mary McFadden, Mary Mc Fadden
Located in Saint-Ouen-Sur-Seine, FR
Evening skirt suit with sequin ,rhinestone embroidered and gold threads. Mary McFadden for Neiman Marcus SIZE 38
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1980s American Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Silver Grey & Gold Lace Collection 1 Peasant Style Dress
By Mary Mc Fadden, Mary McFadden
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
Mary McFadden silver grey & gold lace Collection 1 peasant style dress. Unusual chevron pleat design. Pull on dress with a jewel neckline, the neck...
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1980s American Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Couture 1990s Burgundy Size 4 Pleated Wide Leg Palazzo 90s Pants
By Mary McFadden
Located in San Diego, CA
Chic early 90s MARY MCFADDEN burgundy / maroon high waisted wide leg palazzo trousers ! Signature McFadden fortune pleats. Rich burgundy color matches practically anything, and is gr...
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1990s American Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Signature Burgundy Pleated Body-Hugging Gown
By Mary McFadden
Located in New York, NY
Mary McFadden wonderfully elegant signature pleated body-hugging gown in burgundy is accented with long slim ties on both sleeve's cuffs measuring 12 1/4" in length. The fron...
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1990s American Mary McFadden

1980S Mary Mcfadden White & Pastels Silk Jersey Signature Pleated Gown With Bea
By Mary McFadden
Located in New York, NY
1980S Mary Mcfadden White & Pastels Silk Jersey Signature Pleated Gown With Beaded Embellishment
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1980s Mary McFadden

1970 Mary McFadden Vintage Silk Pink Pastel Watercolor Tye Dye Maxi Skirt
By Mary McFadden
Located in Portland, OR
This is a lovely vintage silk pink, blue and yellow vintage Mary McFadden watercolor maxi skirt with a really fun bubble hem. The hand dyed design looks almost like tye dye! This pretty pastel...
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1970s American Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Couture Evening Gold Lame Print Harem Pants & Gold Lace Zip Top
By Mary Mc Fadden, Mary McFadden
Located in Portland, OR
This is such a truly stunning vintage evening ensemble from Mary McFadden Couture. The outfit is a perfect evening dress alternative and includes a pair of silk chiffon harem pants i...
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1980s American Mary McFadden

1970S Mary Mcfadden Blush Pink & Silver Silk Beaded Bodice Pleated Skirt Gown
By Mary McFadden
Located in New York, NY
1970S Mary Mcfadden Blush Pink & Silver Silk Beaded Bodice Pleated Skirt Gown
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1970s Mary McFadden

Mary Mcfadden Vintage Black Silk Metallic Beaded + Sequin Vest Jacket / Tank Top
By Mary McFadden
Located in Sparks, NV
Gorgeous vintage black silk beaded and sequin vest or tank top by Mary Macfadden. Fully lined with front hook closure. 100% silk with 100% polyester lining. The marked size is medium...
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1990s American Mary McFadden

Vintage Mary McFadden Couture Black + White Fortuny Pleated Dress
By Mary McFadden
Located in San Diego, CA
Incredible vintage Mary McFadden black and white fortuny pleated dress! Slimming abstract effect on front and back. Chic long sleeves. Signature ...
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1980s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Saks Fifth Avenue Purple Peplum Strapless Pleated Top, 1990s
By Mary McFadden
Located in San Francisco, CA
Mary McFadden Couture for Saks Fifth Avenue early 1990s purple strapless signature pleat top with peplum bottom. Boning at top. Side zip. 100% polye...
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1990s American Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Couture Silk Dress 1980s
By Mary McFadden
Located in Water Mill, NY
A pretty rose pink silk dress with her signature micro pleating from Mary McFadden's Couture line. It has a V neckline, a crossing front bodice and back and short sleeves with a ruf...
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1980s American Mary McFadden

MAry McFadden Mauve Pleated Long Sleeve Gown w/ Rope Belt, c. 1970's 10
By Mary McFadden
Located in Los Angeles, CA
This is a scoop neck tunic dress from Mary McFadden. It is made of a lilac purple pleated fabric and cinches at the waist with a long wrap belt. Size 10 US Measurements: Len...
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1970s American Mary McFadden

Beautiful Vintage Mary McFadden Couture Numbered French Lace Dress
By Mary McFadden
Located in San Diego, CA
Absolutely stunning vintage Mary McFadden Couture Numbered Dress. This wonderful dress is Demi-Couture, in that it is mostly hand-sewn. Beautiful black ...
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1980s American Mary McFadden

Vintage Mary McFadden Black Silk Metallic Belted Dress w/ Plunging Back
By Mary McFadden
Located in San Diego, CA
Stunning vintage Mary McFadden silk black metallic gown, with tie-belt! Looks incredibly chic on, and sparkles up the room! Long sleeves, trimmed i...
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1990s American Mary McFadden

Vintage Mary McFadden Purple + Pink + Green 3-D Rose Print Caftan Dress
By Mary McFadden
Located in San Diego, CA
Beautiful vintage MARY MCFADDEN 3-Dimensional caftan / kaftan! Vibrant purple color, with oversized pink roses printed throughout. Slit up one side of the hem. Looks great alone, or ...
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1980s American Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Mauve 2 pc Satin Skirt with Silver Belt Size 6
By Mary McFadden
Located in Los Angeles, CA
This a fantastic three piece Mary Mcfadden design. It is an absolutely fantastic set. The set features three pieces in wonderful shades of purple mauve. The top, which is accentuated...
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1980s Unknown Mary McFadden

Vintage Mary McFadden Light Pink ' Fan ' Print Ruffle Tiered Silk Dress w/ Belt
By Mary McFadden
Located in San Diego, CA
Beautiful vintage Mary McFadden flapper style dress! Light pink silk, with fan prints throughout. Three tiered layers on the skirt, with a ruffled neck. Long corded belt can be wrapp...
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1980s American Mary McFadden

Vintage Mary McFadden Five Strand Wood Bead Tassel Belt with Box
By Mary McFadden
Located in Boca Raton, FL
This Mary McFadden Belt comes to you in new condition with original box. The front of the belt has 5 strands, that fasten with a large wood bead. Th...
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Late 20th Century Unknown Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden for I. Magnin Wild Vintage Leopard + Floral Print Caftan Dress
By Mary McFadden
Located in San Diego, CA
Magnificent vintage MARY MCFADDEN for I. Magnin caftan / kaftan !!! Features a wild print of florals, mixed with a leopard print. Slit up one side of the hem. Perfect by itself, or b...
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1980s American Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Detailed Hand-Done Bugle Beads with Sequined Silk Collar
By Mary McFadden
Located in New York, NY
Mary McFadden wonderfully black silk chiffon evening collar is detailed with hand-done bugle beadwork accented with micro black sequins for the floral design. The inner collar...
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1970s Unknown Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Blue & Teal One Shoulder Gown, c. 1980's
By Mary McFadden
Located in Los Angeles, CA
This is a very elegant one shoulder gown from Mary McFadden. It is made from a pleated nylon fabric, with a fitted bodice and straight skirt. The pleated give it lots of movement. Th...
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1980s American Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Couture Signature Hand-Dyed Hand-Painted Ensemble
By Mary McFadden
Located in New York, NY
Mary McFadden Wonderful signature multi-color hand-dyed silk quilted jacket is detailed with metallic gold hand-painted swirls. Jacket is fully lined with coral silk and quilted...
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1980s American Mary McFadden

Mary Mcfadden Mohair Jacket with Gold Details Size 6
By Mary McFadden
Located in Los Angeles, CA
This is a May McFadden coat. It is composed of a Mohair blend and features gold trimming. The coat is in a wonderful spiced pumpkin hue. Measures (Approximately) Size 6 Length:...
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21st Century and Contemporary Unknown Contemporary Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Huge Gilded Gold Pendant
By Mary McFadden
Located in New York, NY
Mary McFadden huge gilded gold pendant is all hand-crafted and stamped. Bold abstract pendant measures 4" in height, 3 1/2" in length and 1/2" in depth. There are two large loops in ...
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1970s Unknown Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Jet Encrusted Pleated Dress
By Mary McFadden
Located in New York, NY
Mary McFadden's cafe and black pleated cocktail dress with large gathered sleeves and a jet embellished "harness" which wraps around the shoulders. Extra long sleeves pool at wrists...
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1980s American Mary McFadden

Mary Mcfadden
By Mary McFadden
Located in New York, NY
Mary Mcfadden long sleeved tunic of signature pleated organza in a hand silk screened butterfly wing motif. Ivory silk lining. Snap opening at shoulderline.
Excellent condition.
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1980s American Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Soutache and Hand Hammered Belt
By Mary McFadden
Located in New York, NY
Mary McFadden's multicolored soutache knotted and hand hammered Brass Belt/Necklace in deep purples, rust and gold. Designed to tie in multiple ways around the body of her pleated grecian evening dresses...
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1980s American Mary McFadden

Mary Mcfadden fashion for sale on 1stDibs.

Find an extraordinary range of authentic Mary McFadden fashion available on 1stDibs. If you’re browsing our collection of unique vintage and designer fashion to elevate your daily look or to introduce new colors to the dazzling formal wear in your wardrobe, this designer’s body of work includes elements of pink, purple, red and other tones. Most of the items here were designed during the 20th Century, but you can find examples that were created as recently as the 21st Century and Contemporary. Customers who are interested in this designer might also find the work of Oleg Cassini, Arnold Scaasi, and Norma Kamali appealing. On 1stDibs, find haute couture, vintage and designer Mary McFadden fashion from top boutiques around the world. Mary McFadden fashion prices can differ depending upon time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $215 and tops out at $5,885, while the average work can sell for $895.
Questions About Mary McFadden
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    Mary McFadden is a fashion designer known for her kimono-shaped jackets and synthetic pleated charmeuse fabric. She drew inspiration for her designs from ancient cultures and traditions from around the world. Shop a variety of classic Mary McFadden clothing from some of the world’s top boutiques on 1stDibs.

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