Early life and education
McFadden was born in New York City, and spent her childhood on a cotton plantation outside Memphis, Tennessee. When her father died, the family moved to Westbury, New York, and she was sent to the Foxcroft School from which she graduated. She went on to attend Columbia University, the Ecole Lubec, the New School for Social Research, the Sorbonne, and the Traphagen School of Fashion (1956, Costume Design).
She was working as the director of public relations for Dior New York in the 1960s, when she married a merchant for De Beers diamonds (Philip Harari, who she later divorced; see Personal life section below) and relocated to South Africa. From 1968 to 1970 she was an editor for South African Vogue, a job arranged for her by Diana Vreeland.
In 1976 she began the clothing company Mary McFadden Inc.
She has also licensed her name to many products such as eyewear, footwear, home furnishings, and sleepwear.
- Coty Award, 1976
- Award of Excellence from the president of the Friends of Moore Ronald G. Dowd, 1977
- Coty Award, 1978
- Coty Hall of Fame induction, 1979
- Neiman Marcus Fashion Award, 1979
- American Printed Fabrics Council Tommy Award, 1984
- Council of Fashion Designers of America Lifetime Achievement Award, 1988
- American Printed Fabrics Council Tommy Award, 1991
- Council of Fashion Designers of America Industry Tribute Award, 1993
- Moore College of Art & Design Visionary Woman Award, 2008
- United Nations Women Together Award, 2013
- Included in the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame.
- Named on the Eleanor Lambert Vanity Fair Best Dressed List.
- Named the first "Living Landmark" from the New York Landmarks Conservancy.
- Received the President's Fellow Award of the Rhode Island School of Design.
McFadden has claimed to be married at least eleven times, but declared that some of these marriages were "only spiritual".
McFadden is known to have been married to, in chronological order:
- Philip Harari (married 1964, divorced). They were married in Bartholomew's Protestant Episcopal Church in New York City, and McFadden's attendants included Warhol star Baby Jane Holzer.
- Frank McEwen (married 1969, divorced 1970)
- Armin Schmidt (later divorced)
- Kohle Yohannan (married 1989, divorced 1992)
- Vasilos Calitsis (married 1996)
- Charlotte Curtis, "Mary McFadden Married to Philip Harari at St. Bartholomew's; Former Dior Aide is Wed to Director in De Beers Group", The New York Times, 26 September 1964
- José Blanco F.; Patricia Kay Hunt-Hurst; Heather Vaughan Lee; Mary Doering (23 November 2015). Clothing and Fashion: American Fashion from Head to Toe [4 volumes]: American Fashion from Head to Toe. ABC-CLIO. pp. 3–. ISBN 978-1-61069-310-3.
- Mary McFadden; Murray Gell-Mann (2012). Mary McFadden: A Lifetime of Design, Collecting, and Adventure. Random House Incorporated. ISBN 978-0-8478-3656-7.
- "Mary McFadden". LoveToKnow. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
- Bennetts, Leslie (March 2, 1979). "Mary McFadden: Life of Her Own Design". New York Times. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
- "Mary McFadden Is Married - The New York Times". Nytimes.com. 1989-06-25. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
- "Traphagen Alumni, The Traphagen School: Fostering American Fashion". Museum at FIT. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
- Elizabeth Sleeman (2001). The International Who's Who of Women 2002. Psychology Press. pp. 348–. ISBN 978-1-85743-122-3.
- Francesca Sterlacci; Joanne Arbuckle (30 June 2017). Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 319–. ISBN 978-1-4422-3909-8.
- Francesca Sterlacci; Joanne Arbuckle (26 October 2009). The A to Z of the Fashion Industry. Scarecrow Press. pp. 157–. ISBN 978-0-8108-7046-8.
- "NMWA Celebrates the work of American Fashion Designer Mary McFadden in Mary McFadden: Goddesses | National Museum of Women in the Arts". Nmwa.org. 2009-08-30. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
- Sharon G. Hoffman; Amanda M. Mott (2008). Moore College of Art & Design. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 23–. ISBN 978-0-7385-5659-8.
- Hyde, Nina S. (1978-05-28). "Fashion Notes". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
- "MARY MCFADDEN". Council of Fashion Designers of America. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
- Holly Price Alford; Anne Stegemeyer (25 September 2014). Who's Who in Fashion. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 259–. ISBN 978-1-60901-969-3.
- "Moore College of Art & Design – Mary McFadden Receives Visionary Woman 2008". Moore.edu. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
- Fair, Vanity. "Introducing the International Best-Dressed List 2017 Hall of Fame". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
- "Ireland Calling, MCFADDEN – SCOTTISH SONS OF LITTLE PATRICK". Retrieved May 31, 2018.
- "NOBEL LAUREATE BARUJ BENACERRAF, DESIGNER MARY MCFADDEN, & MASTER CHEF JACQUES PEPIN AMONG ALUMNI TO BE HONORED BY COLUMBIA". Retrieved May 31, 2018.
- New York Media, LLC (26 March 1990). New York Magazine. New York Media, LLC. pp. 40–.