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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 Pleated Dress with Beading
By Mary McFadden
Located in Austin, TX
Mary McFadden blue pleated dress with beading at collar. Condition: good, some spots , a small tear and some beads missing on beaded part, see photo. Size 14 43" bust, 42" waist...
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1980s 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

Mary McFadden Couture Emerald Green Cocktail Dress, 1980's
By Mary McFadden
Located in Atlanta, GA
Early 1980's Mary McFadden cocktail dress in a rich emerald green color with McFadden's signature exotic style and micro pleated fabric similar to the designs of Mario Fortuny. The ...
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1980s American 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

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 Couture Dramatic Sleeves Beaded Bodice Ivory Pleated 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

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 South Korean 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

Mary McFadden Couture Vintage 1980's Off the Shoulder Blue Evening Dress
By Mary McFadden
Located in Cloverdale, CA
Mary McFadden Couture Vintage 1980's Bow Sequin Accent Evening Dress This is just so pretty, please use the zoom feature to see details. Size 8 Bust 36" Waist 28" Hips 46" Leng...
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1970s Mary McFadden

1970s Mary McFadden Beaded One Shoulder Pastel Sequin Dress
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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1970s Unknown 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

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

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” / Waist: 33’ Hip: 48” / Dress...
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1980s American Mary McFadden

Evening skirt suit with sequin and rhinestone embroidered Mary Mc Fadden Couture
By Mary Mc Fadden, Mary McFadden
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 band has ties in the back. Long sl...
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1980s American 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

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

Vintage Mary McFadden Abstract Print Colorful Caftan Kafka Maxi Dress
By Mary McFadden
Located in San Diego, CA
Amazing vintage MARY MCFADDEN colorful abstract print caftan ! Bright colors of blue, red, yellow, green, and white throughout. Simply slips over the head. Can be worn belted or alon...
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Late 20th Century American 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 he...
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1980s 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

Vintage Mary Mcfadden Silver Gray Pleated Dress
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

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 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 South Korean 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 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

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 American 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 American Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Pleated Fourtuny Style Colour Block Gown 1980s
By Mary McFadden, Mary Mc Fadden
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 American 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

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 American 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 American 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 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 American Mary McFadden

Beautiful Vintage Mary McFadden for Neiman Marcus Black SIlver Belted Midi Dress
By Mary McFadden, Neiman Marcus
Located in San Diego, CA
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 American 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

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 McFadden pleating throughout. Ties at...
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1980s 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

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

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 French lace on bodice, with ex...
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1980s 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 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 American Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden Couture Gold & White Beaded Bodice Halter Neck Gown
By Mary McFadden
Located in Los Angeles, CA
This is a lovely evening gown from Mary McFadden. It is made of her signature pleated poly fabric skirt, with a a gold tone and white beaded halter style bodice. There is a zipper at...
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21st Century and Contemporary American Contemporary 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 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 in silk. Flattering semi-plunge back...
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1990s American Mary McFadden

1970s Mary McFadden white halter neck beaded gown
By Mary McFadden
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
Dramatic Mary McFadden pleated white halter neck gown with beaded straps...Perfect for a wedding...Halter neck line is beaded in gold & white glass beads, silver sequins and embroide...
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Late 20th Century 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

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

Mary McFadden Mohair Skirt With Braid Waistband, 1970's
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 American 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 American 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

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 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 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

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 Unknown 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 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 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 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 gr...
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1980s American Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden fashion for sale on 1stDibs

1stDibs offers an extraordinary range of authentic Mary McFadden fashion. 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 Rudi Gernreich, Vicky Tiel and Zandra Rhodes appealing. Find designer, vintage and haute couture Mary McFadden fashion from top boutiques around the world on 1stDibs. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at US$125 and tops out at US$12,000, while the average work can sell for US$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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