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Heirloom to Haute Gala 2017 | A Maryland Historical Society Event

Heirloom to Haute Gala 2017 | A Maryland Historical Society Event

“Reminding you that casual never means careless and that the appropriate is always the aim of the woman with a true sense of Fashion and the taste that goes with it.”

– Claire McCardell



As women, we love clothing that is practical but still chic. Being able to leave your 9-5 job at the office and go straight to a gala event is something women count on when selecting pieces for their wardrobe. And that’s exactly what Maryland native Claire McCardell created in the 1940s and 50’s.



The “Popover” Dress


Born in Frederick, MD in 1905, Claire McCardell studied at Parson’s School of Design before various apprenticeships in Paris. After several successful designs (including the ballet flat!), in 1942 she created her famed “Popover Dress” after responding to a Harper’s Bazaar contest to create something fashionable that women could “wear to clean the house and then to a cocktail party”. The simple dress she designed (shown below) even came with a matching potholder which fit into the dress’s pocket!  Selling for $6.95, she sold 75,000 in the first year alone and in the process, became the first designer to create a functional outfit that women could wear for virtually any occasion.


Working Title/Artist: "Popover" dress Department: Costume Institute Culture/Period/Location: HB/TOA Date Code: Working Date: 1942 photography by mma 1998, transparency #1a scanned by ES retouched by film and media (jn) 5_13_06


To her, women’s clothing needed to be comfortable, fashionable, feminine and fun while fitting into a modern women’s lifestyle, not the other way around. And these opinions weren’t just everyday necessities for her, but for a lot of other women as well. Not surprisingly, her designs were soon flying off the racks in department stores across the nation and because of Claire McCardell, American women’s sportswear was born.




We will be recreating the original McCardell dresses pictured above in red silk crinkle chiffon for one and black taffeta for the other. Our designs will also be auctioned off with the proceeds going to the Maryland Historical Society!


Please join us at the Lord Baltimore Hotel for an opulent evening as we celebrate the dazzling fashion collection of the Maryland Historical Society for the Heirloom to Haute Gala!

Local contemporary designers will showcase their vintage-inspired creations alongside the Historical Society’s world class collection. Highlights will feature fashion-forward Marylanders from the past and present, such as Claire McCardell!

We’re honored to be a part of this amazing event and are excited to recreate these beautiful garments!



March 25, 2017
Lord Baltimore Hotel
20 W. Baltimore St. Baltimore, MD 21201
Attire: Vintage evening wear or black tie
6:30pm until midnight

We hope to see you all there!

Curated by: Christen Johnson