Sue and Leon Genet Gallery Presents ‘Mary McFadden: American Fashion Designer’


“Mary McFadden: American Fashion Designer” is on view at the Sue and Leon Genet Gallery until October 15, 2021.

A new exhibit at Syracuse University’s Sue and Leon Genet Gallery at the School of Design features distinctive clothing that reflects an avid study of ancient and ethnic cultures.

“Mary McFadden: American Fashion Designer” features the work of a “design archaeologist” as she draws inspiration from various ancient cultures and civilizations. From African tribes to Egyptian pharaohs, from ancient Greece and Rome to Byzantium, they all take action to inform its collections. McFadden achieves these design elements using hand painting, quilting, beading, and embroidery. McFadden says, “I made 60 collections, each based on an ancient civilization, and I went to all of these places.

Born in 1938 to a textile family, McFadden studied in Paris, earned a degree in fashion design from the Traphagen School of Design in New York, and a degree in sociology from Columbia University. She started an independent design company in 1973 and in 1975 patented a new process for pleating the synthetic charmeuse into irregular folds reminiscent of those created at the turn of the 19th century by Italian designer Mariano Fortuny. In 1976, she formed Mary McFadden Inc. and continued her business until it closed in 2002.

Its patented fabric, called “Marii”, is made from synthetic charmeuse woven in Australia, dyed in Japan and machine-pleated in New York. His concept was to create a tissue that “falls like liquid gold on the body”.

Mary McFadden first spoke at Syracuse University as part of the Genet Lecture Series in 1992 and returned in 2010 to the School of Design to lecture and host a fashion show of her designs. original.

“Mary McFadden: American Fashion Designer” was curated by fashion design professor Jeffrey Mayer and features 17 original designs by McFadden dating from the late 1970s to the 1990s. The exhibition is on view until October 15, 2021 and is located in the Sue and Leon Genet Gallery on the first floor of the Nancy Cantor warehouse in downtown Syracuse. All clothing is from the Sue Ann Genet Costume Collection housed in the Fashion Design Program at the School of Design, College of Visual and Performing Arts.

About the Sue and Léon Genet Gallery

Located in the Nancy Cantor Warehouse Design School, the Sue et Léon Genet Gallery is a student-run space that hosts exhibitions by students, teachers and alumni of the school. The programming seeks to involve the university and the community of downtown Syracuse with exhibitions inspired and related to the field of design. The opening hours of the gallery are Monday to Friday from noon to 5 p.m. and by appointment.


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