It Seems Like Yesterday

Mary McFadden@Benson lg

No doubt the word “unique” was created for Mary McFadden. No one has a more unique style—subtle and not-so-subtle—as Mary. Her sense of classism and the bold use of unexpected color is truly her own. That to me is evident in the photograph shown here, taken at her New York apartment in the early 1970s. To me  it sums up the dramatic persona that is fashion designer Mary McFadden.

Her hand-painted Fortuny pleated evening gowns and her hand-painted Trapunto-quilted jackets still turn heads at charity balls from New York City to Palm Beach.

John Fairchild, the genius behind Woman’s Wear Daily, told me that no one, even in the Paris couture circle, could match Mary’s unmistakable fashion sense.

Her many awards, exhibitions, and accolades would fill this column twice over. Her private life would make a film to rival Gone with the Wind—Vivien Leigh or Angelina Jolie would be the prefect star.

Mary still causes a stir to this day when she enters a room—as elegant and regal as always. Heads turn. People nod. That is staying power others only dream of having.