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Mary McFadden

American, b. 1938

Less could have been expected from a well-bred society girl like Mary McFadden (b. 1938), who stepped out of the safe confines of the haut monde to create iconic designs 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 clothes — 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 authentic Mary McFadden clothing, accessories and brooches on 1stDibs today.

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Mary McFadden Couture Vintage 1980's Purple Pleated Beaded Evening Dress
By Mary McFadden
Located in Cloverdale, CA
Mary McFadden Couture Vintage 1980's Lilac Pleated Beaded Evening Dress. This is just so pretty, please use the zoom feature to see details. Size 8 Bust 38" Waist 28" Hips 40" Lengt...
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1970s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Bronze and Silk Braided Rope Couture Sculptural Necklace Vintage
By Mary McFadden
Located in North Miami, FL
This vintage necklace by Mary McFadden has beautiful gold silk metallic braided rope that houses the 6 bronze pendants that hang from it. It simply ties around the neck so one can ma...
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1980s Modern Vintage Mary McFadden

Materials

Bronze

Mary McFadden Brass and Lapis Lazuli Cuff Bracelet Vintage
By Mary McFadden
Located in North Miami, FL
This theatrical and dramatic vintage Mary McFadden very wide cuff bracelet has lapis lazuli and another burgundy stone against the gold brass. It is signed Mary McFadden Hand Crafted...
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1970s Modernist Vintage Mary McFadden

Materials

Agate, Lapis Lazuli, Brass

1980s Mary McFadden Couture Size 8 Black Fortuny Pleated Vintage 80s Dress
By Mary McFadden
Located in Chicago, IL
Classic, yet super stylish MARY MCFADDEN COUTURE black fortuny pleated short sleeve dress ! Features a tailored bodice with short flutter sleeves. Hidden zipper up the back with hook...
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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 pre...
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1970s Mary McFadden

1970s Mary McFadden Vintage Hand Painted Quilted Silk Jacket & Black Wool Skirt
By Mary McFadden
Located in Portland, OR
This is a rare vintage late 1970's or early 1980's Mary McFadden skirt suit with a quilted longline hand painted silk jacket. The jacket is cream with blue circles with black outline...
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1970s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Multi Color Sequins and Embroidered Top/Mini Dress
By Mary McFadden
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Mary McFadden Multi Color Sequins and Embroidered Top/Mini Dress Star, branch floral embroidered motifs with rhinestones and pearl beading. Metal thread work. One side zipper on the ...
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Late 20th Century Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Black Embroidered and Beaded Evening Crop Jacket
By Mary McFadden
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Intricate geometric/arabesque multi colored beadwork throughout. Gold metal threaded embroidery with rhinestone embellishments throughout. V- Neck detailing with a hook and eye closu...
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Late 20th Century Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Gold Embroidered Beaded Jacket with Metal Strip Work
By Mary McFadden
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Mary McFadden Gold Embroidered Beaded Jacket with Metal Strip Work. Cross hatched pattern with floral embroidered beaded border. Size US 2-4 Made in the US
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1990s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Couture Embellished & Embroidered Puff Sleeve Bolero
By Mary McFadden
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Mary McFadden Couture Iconic Tropical Sequins, Beaded, and Embroidered Cropped Bolero/Jacket. Size US 4.
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1980s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden for Bergdorf Goodman Burgundy Embroidered and Beaded Evening Coat
By Mary McFadden
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Beautiful 1980's-90's Mary McFadden Floral and Brocade Evening Coat. Burgundy, Gold, and emerald bead detailing. Zip closure in the front. Size US 10. Silk interior. Original Pristin...
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Late 20th Century Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Couture Royal Blue Embroidered Quilted Flower Appliqué Jacket
By Mary McFadden
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Mary McFadden Couture Royal Blue Embroidered Quilted Flower Appliqué Jacket Size US 2, Cobalt Blue Embroidery and appliqué around the front collar, bottom, and sleeves. Quilted body...
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Late 20th Century Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Embroidered Beaded Plisse Gown
By Mary McFadden
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Regal Mary McFadden White gown with beaded bodice. Beading includes pearls and sequins. Gold threaded branch and floral embroidery. Crosshatch lace. Round Collar. Back zip closure. S...
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Late 20th Century Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Couture Silk Embroidered Detail Skirt Suit Set
By Mary McFadden
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Mary McFadden Couture Blue Silk Embroidered Detail Skirt Suit Set Size US 8
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1990s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Beaded Plisse Criss Cross White Gown
By Mary McFadden
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Iconic Mary McFadden White Gown. This delicate and elegant gown has Criss Cross Beaded detailing in the front that creates a halter neck and continues all the way down to the back wa...
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1990s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Couture Silk Dress 1980s
By Mary McFadden
Located in Water Mill, NY
A pretty rose pink silk micro pleated dress from Mary McFadden's Couture line. It has a V neckline, a wrap effect across the bodice front and back and the short sleeves have a ruffl...
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1980s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden 1980s Pleated Outfit
By Mary McFadden
Located in Scottsdale, AZ
Look breezy and effortless in this beautiful 1980s Mary McFadden two piece outfit! Made of 100% silk fabric in a rich shade of purple, this look features a pleated asymmetrical jacke...
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1980s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Couture Silk Embroidered Sequins Diamanté Bolero Jacket,ca. 1980's
By Mary McFadden
Located in Cincinnati, OH
Mary McFadden Couture silk open front embroidered sequins diamanté evening bolero jacket with padded shoulders and fully lined in silk. US.2 Bust: 36, Waist: 32, Shoulder: 15, Lengt...
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1980s Mary McFadden

Antonio Lopez 1979 Coty Award Lithograph Mary McFadden
By Mary McFadden
Located in Cloverdale, CA
LIMITED EDITION ILLUSTRATION BY ANTONIO LOPEZ (1943 - 1987) DESIGNER... Mary McFadden Original lithographic print from a limited edition of 500 printed in 1979 after which, the o...
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1970s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Couture Evening Gold Lame Print Harem Pants & Gold Lace Zip Top
By Mary McFadden, Mary Mc Fadden
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 Mary McFadden

Beautiful Vintage Mary McFadden for Neiman Marcus Black SIlver Belted Midi Dress
By Neiman Marcus, Mary McFadden
Located in Chicago, IL
Stunning vintage MARY MCFADDEN, for NEIMAN MARCUS, black and silver burnt out velvet and chiffon long sleeve midi dress! Features the most beautiful silk velvet burn out chiffon over...
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1980s Mary McFadden

MARY MCFADDEN Size M Cream Cropped Bolero Vest Shrug
By Mary McFadden
Located in San Francisco, CA
Chic MARY MCFADDEN cropped bolero shrug in off white cream mink fur with satin lining. Made in USA. Excellent Pre-Owned Condition. Measurements: Shoulder: 19 in. Bust: 36 in. L...
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20th Century Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Couture Evening Skirt in Gold Metallic Lace & Soutache New w/ Tags
By Mary McFadden
Located in Portland, OR
This is the most stunning vintage Mary McFadden Couture vintage skirt that was purchased at Saks Fifth Avenue in the 1980's. The long evening skirt is in a beautiful gold fabric with...
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1980s Mary McFadden

1980S MARY MCFADDEN Black & Silver Silk Lurex Burnout Velvet Bias Backless Long
By Mary McFadden
Located in New York, NY
1980S MARY MCFADDEN Black & Silver Silk Lurex Burnout Velvet Bias Backless Long Sleeved Gown
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1980s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Sequin & Beaded Collar, 1980's
By Mary McFadden
Located in Atlanta, GA
This beautiful Mary McFadden collar is a combination of exotic style and an ethereal look. The netted candlelight white base has a scallop shape edge with an intricate floral patter...
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1980s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Wrap Front Cocktail Dress and Beaded Jacket
By Mary McFadden
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
Mary McFadden black Fortuny style pleated wrap front plunge cocktail dress with matching black & white beaded jacket. The dress is sleek and sexy when worn with a narrow belt. Add th...
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1980s Mary McFadden

1980s Mary McFadden White Jewel Trimmed Micro Pleated Gown
By Mary McFadden
Located in Toronto, Ontario
1980s fabulous white micro pleated Mary McFadden gown. Long sleeves with fitted bodice and straight skirt. Beautiful metallic gold macramé and pearl neckline, gold wrapped rope detai...
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1980s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Ivory Quilted Jacket and Fortuny Stye Pleated Skirt Set
By Mary McFadden
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
Mary McFadden Ivory quilted jacket and matching Fortuny style pleated short skirt set. This beautiful set is perfect for any special occasion and would even make a stunning wedding o...
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1980s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden for I. Magnin Wild Vintage Leopard + Floral Print Caftan Dress
By Mary McFadden
Located in Chicago, IL
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 Mary McFadden

Vintage Mary McFadden Purple + Pink + Green 3-D Rose Print Caftan Dress
By Mary McFadden
Located in Chicago, IL
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 Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Black Silk Organza Dress With Lace
By Mary McFadden
Located in Atlanta, GA
What a beauty! This precious Mary McFadden Couture dress is fabricated from layered black silk organza with a lattice lace bodice and double tiered skirt. It zips and hooks at the ...
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1980s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Quilted Jacket in Rich Raisin Brown 1970s
By Mary McFadden
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
Mary McFadden quilted jacket in rich raisin brown from the 1970s. A beautiful jacket in a wonderful and unique colour, that can be worn for evening events or dressed down for casual...
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1970s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Lavender Delphos Pleated Backless Gown for Neiman Marcus c 1990
By Mary McFadden
Located in Santa Barbara, CA
Mary McFadden Lavender pleated backless gown c 1990s The exquisite pale lavender delphos pleated gown has a statuesque silhouette. The Fortuny "style" pleating drapes beautifully a...
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Late 20th Century Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Navy Blue Pleated Dress
By Mary McFadden
Located in New York, NY
Product details: Vintage navy blue pleated dress by Mary McFadden. Double v-neck. Long sleeves. Concealed side zip closure. 36" bust, 26" waist, 40" length, 22" sleeve length...
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21st Century and Contemporary Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Numbered Couture Jeweled Raspberry Keyhole Back Gown - XS-S, 1980s
By Mary McFadden
Located in Tucson, AZ
“Modesty, what elegance!” said Coco Chanel. McFadden reiterates with a statuesque gown that evokes Greek goddess-like femininity but reveals nothing except a keyhole in the center ba...
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1980s Mary McFadden

Vintage Mary McFadden Black Silk Metallic Belted Dress w/ Plunging Back
By Mary McFadden
Located in Chicago, IL
Stunning vintage Mary McFadden silk black metallic gown, with tie-belt! Looks incredibly chic on, and sparkles up the room! Long sleeves, trimmed in silk. Flattering semi-plunge back...
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1990s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Couture Art Beaded Pleated Evening Gown in Blue 1980s
By Mary McFadden
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
Mary McFadden Couture art beaded pleated evening gown in blue from the 1980s. This beautiful gown in a shade of blue like cornflower, has the most amazing beaded sleeves. It is an ea...
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1980s Mary McFadden

1980s Mary McFadden Pink Silk Floral Quilted Coat and Maxi Skirt
By Mary McFadden
Located in Houston, TX
Striking silk ensemble by Mary McFadden consisting of a maxi skirt and long coat that pair beautifully together. The coat is shin length, with long sleeves, no lapel, button-less fro...
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1980s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Off White Tiered Fortuny Pleated Evening Dress 1980s
By Mary Mc Fadden, Mary McFadden
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
Mary McFadden Fortuny style pleated tiered evening dress from the 1980s. This dress consists of three parts, the top is long sleeved with deeply draped back and asymmetrical hem that...
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1980s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Pleated Fourtuny Style Colour Block Gown 1980s
By Mary Mc Fadden, Mary McFadden
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
Mary McFadden Pleated Fourtuny Style Colour Block Gown from the 1980s. This beautiful gown is done in a blocking grid in French blue and cream, with narrow ruffles, that are gold thr...
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1980s 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 Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Saks Fifth Avenue Purple Peplum Strapless Pleated Top, Early 1990
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% polyester. Made in USA. Size 2...
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1990s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden 1980s Cream Quilted Pastel Print Jacket with Shoulder Detail
By Mary McFadden
Located in San Francisco, CA
Mary McFadden vintage 1980's cream quilted jacket with pastel print and extended shoulder detail. Open front, light padding at shoulders. Fabric unknown, feels like silk but could b...
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1980s Mary McFadden

1980s Mary McFadden Halter Dress
By Mary McFadden
Located in Scottsdale, AZ
Look breezy and effortless in this adorable 1980s Mary McFadden halter dress! Made of 100% silk fabric in a rich shade of cream, printed with a botanical inspired graphic in shades o...
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1980s Mary McFadden

Mary Mcfadden Two Piece Evening Gown
By Mary McFadden
Located in Water Mill, NY
Two Piece Evening Dress-Silk Top With Gold Edging and Couture Gold Lace Skirt Lined in Beige Silk, Hand Finished
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1970s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Soutache and Hand Hammered Belt
By Mary McFadden
Located in Riverdale, 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 gr...
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1980s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Couture Green Pleated Sculpted Short Sleeve Dress, 1980s
By Marry Mcfadden, Mary 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 organza and the skirt portion is u...
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Late 20th Century Mary McFadden

Vintage Marry 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. This belt will fit a range of size...
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Late 20th Century Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden beaded Fortuny style pleated evening gown 1980s
By Mary McFadden
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
Mary McFadden beaded Fortuny style pleated evening gown from the 1980s. This dress is an amazing shade of blue, a dark cornflower I think, but colour is in the eye of the beholder! T...
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1980s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Gilded Gold Hardware Detailed "Scarab" Clip On Brooch
By Mary McFadden
Located in New York, NY
Wonderfully detailed, Mary McFadden's gilded gold hardware optional "Scarab" clip on brooch, can also be used as a loop to hold in place your lovely silk scarf when wor...
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1980s Egyptian Revival Vintage Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Gilded Gold Hardware "Scrab" Optional Clip on Brooch
By Mary McFadden
Located in New York, NY
This wonderful gilded gold hardware "Scrab" by Mary McFadden optional clip-on brooch as well as a loop to hold in place your silk scarf when being worn is detailed with etchin...
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1980s Egyptian Revival Vintage Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Jet Encrusted Pleated Dress
By Mary McFadden
Located in Riverdale, 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 Mary McFadden

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

Chic 1970's Mary McFadden Quilted Coat
By Mary McFadden
Located in Atlanta, GA
Chic and sleek! This 1970's Mary McFadden ivory white quilted coat is the perfect topper for creating a sophisticated silhouette. The mandarin style collar is worn open without fro...
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1970s Mary McFadden

1970's Mary McFadden Burlap Skirt With Braided Waistband
By Mary McFadden
Located in Atlanta, GA
It's not usually a compliment to compare an article of designer clothing to a potato sack but Mary McFadden has managed to take it to a new level. This soft burlap style fabric is a...
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1970s Mary McFadden

Vintage Mary McFadden Light Pink ' Fan ' Print Ruffle Tiered Silk Dress w/ Belt
By Mary McFadden
Located in Chicago, IL
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 Mary McFadden

Stylized 1980's Mary McFadden Quilted Coat With Black & Gold Trim
By Mary McFadden
Located in Atlanta, GA
Have an exotic evening with this gorgeous Mary McFadden quilted ivory white coat with black and gold embroidered pinstripes across the shoulder and sleeves. The stylized shape works...
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1980s Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Vintage Purple Pleated Plunging Neck Maxi Dress
By Mary McFadden
Located in Sparks, NV
Daring Mary McFadden pleated maxi dress in the most beautiful shade of muted purple. This dress features a deep-V plunging neckline that is cut out all the way down to the waist seam...
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20th Century Mary McFadden