Mary McFadden

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Mary Josephine McFadden[1] (born October 1, 1938, New York City) is an American fashion designer and writer.


McFadden is the only daughter of Alexander Bloomfield McFadden, a cotton broker, and her mother was the former Mary Josephine Cutting, a socialite and concert pianist. Her father died in 1948, when he was killed in an avalanche while climbing in the Rocky Mountains. She has two brothers, George, who died in April 2008 after a plane he was in crashed into Toledo Bend Reservoir,Texas, and John McFadden, and two half-brothers, Watson B. and Wolcott R. Blair.

McFadden's stepfather was the investment banker Watson K. Blair who died November 26, 2013


After graduating from Greenvale and Foxcroft, McFadden studied at the École Lubec, 1955–56 and at the Sorbonne, 1956-57. She also studied fashion at the Traphagen School of Design in 1956 and sociology at Columbia University and at the New School for Social Research, New York, 1958-60. She also attended the Dante Alighieri Institute in Rome.


Her career included Director of Public Relations, Christian Dior, New York, 1963–65; Merchandising editor, Vogue, South Africa, 1964–65; travel and political columnist, Rand Daily Mail, South Africa, 1965–68; founder, Vukutu sculpture workshop, Rhodesia, 1968–70;[2] also freelance editor for My Fair Lady, Cape Town. World Traveler and photographer for Vogue South Africa, Vogue Paris 1968-1970; special projects editor, Vogue, New York.

Champion tennis player and giant downhill ski racer 1970-1975.

1970 Freelance fashion and jewelry designer, New York ; Marii pleated fabric patented, 1975; President, Mary McFadden Inc., 1976; home furnishings line introduced, 1978; lower priced line manufactured by Jack Mulqueen, 1980; Mary McFadden Knitwear Company; Costume designer for Indian film Zooni, 1993; launched Mary McFadden Studio, 1995; began designing neckwear, 1999; Mary McFadden Collection, debuted 2001.

She served as the President of the Council of Fashion Designers of America from 1982-83. McFadden's collections have been shown on runways in New York, Paris, Rome, Milan, Bolivia, Mexico, Caracas, London, 10 US capitals and Tokyo. She has been on the Eleanor Lambert Vanity Fair Best Dressed List and the International Hall of Fame, 1970-2014.

  • Exhibitions:A Passion for Fashion: The Mortimer Collection, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut, 1993. Mary McFadden: Goddesses, Goldie Paley Gallery, Moore College of Art & Design, Philadelphia, PA, 2008. Designer Indian Golden Eye Exhibit-Cooper Hewitt Museum. The Dixon, Memphis, Tennessee. The Boston Museum, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Lecturer: Bing Auditorium Los Angeles County Museum. Metropolitan Museum, New York for the Ancient Near Eastern Department. Philadelphia Library. Preservation Society of Newport County. The Dixon Museum, Memphis, Tennessee. The Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian Museum of Asian Art, Washington D.C.

  • Awards: Coty American Fashion Critics award, 1976, 1978, 1979; entered Coty Hall of Fame 1979; Audemars Piquet Fashion award, 1976; Rex award, 1977; Moore College of Art award, Philadelphia, 1977; Pennsylvania Governor's award, 1977; Roscoe award, 1978; Presidential Fellows Award and Doctorate in Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Design, 1979; Neiman Marcus Award, 1979; Doctor of Fine Arts, Miami International Fine Arts College, 1984; American Printed Fabrics Council Tommy Award, 1991; Honorary Degree from Columbia University, School of General Studies.Visionary Woman Award, Moore College of Art & Design, Philadelphia, 2008. Women Together Award, United Nations, 2013.

Personal life[edit]

McFadden has been married to:

  • Philip Victor Harari, a former British Army officer and a company director of De Beers, the South African diamond company. They married on 25 September 1964, at St. Bartholomew's Protestant Episcopal Church in New York City, and McFadden's attendants included Warhol star Baby Jane Holzer (divorced).[1] The couple had one child, Justine, a photographer, film editor and artist.
  • Francis Jack McEwen, OBE, the director of Rhodesia's National Gallery of Art, married January 1969 in Salisbury, Rhodesia (divorced, 1970)
  • Engaged Jacques Sarlie 1971
  • Companion and partner J. Patrick Lannan, 1971-1980
  • Engaged Thomas B. Hess 1980
  • Armin Schmidt, married 1981 (divorced)
  • Kohle Yohannan, married 1989 (born 1967, divorced 1992)
  • King of the Dogon, married in Mali, 1993

In 2007, McFadden's engagement to investment banker Marquette de Bary, (born 1918) was revealed by several newspapers.

In 2009, a person close to the family disclosed that McFadden is not engaged, but is dating Marquette de Bary.

External links[edit]



  1. ^ a b 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
  2. ^ See biography of Joram Mariga
  3. ^ The Creative Eye


  • BooksMorris, Bernadine, and Barbara Walz, The Fashion Makers, NewYork, 1978.
  • Milbank, Caroline Rennolds, Couture: The Great Designers, NewYork, 1985.
  • Diamonstein, Barbaralee, Fashion: The Inside Story, New York,1985.
  • Milbank, Caroline Rennolds, New York Fashion: The Evolution of American Style, New York, 1989
  • Stegemeyer, Anne, Who's Who in Fashion, Third Edition, New York,1996.
  • ArticlesTucker, Priscilla, "Mary Had a Little Dress," in the New York Daily News, 6 April 1980.
  • Foley, Bridget, "Mary McFadden: A New Type of Tycoon," in New York Apparel News, March 1983.
  • Rafferty, Diane, "Beyond Fashion," in Connoisseur (New York),October 1988.
  • Thurman, Judith, "Power Gives You an Aura, Says Mary McFadden," in Mirabella, September 1989.
  • Gross, Michael, "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary: The Life and Loves of Mary McFadden," in New York, 26 March 1990.
  • "The Designers Talk Passion, Whimsy and Picassos," in ARTnews (New York), September 1990.
  • Horyn, Cathy, "A Mary-Tale Romance," in the Washington Post, 9 June 1991.
  • "New York: Mary McFadden," in WWD, 4 November 1994.
  • Friedman, Arthur, "McFadden Exits Seventh on Sixth…," in WWD, 21 March 1995.
  • "MMCF's New Society," in WWD, 25 July 1995.
  • "Mary McFadden Launches Better Special-Occasion Line," in WWD, 19 September 1995.
  • Monget, Karyn, "McFadden, Boutique Industries Renew Licensing Agreement," in WWD, 20 October 1997.
  • McKinney, Melonee, "Women's Designer Mary McFadden to DoFirst-Ever Neckwear Collection," in WWD, 19 March 1999.
  • "Joan Blumberger Olden Rejoins Mary McFadden," in WWD, 11 August 2000.
  • Greenberg, Julee, "McFadden Expanding," in WWD, 5 September 2001.
  • Mary McFadden, "High Priestess of High Fashion: A Life in Haute Courture, Decor, and Design" Bunker Hill Publishing, 2004.
  • Mary McFadden, "A Lifetime of Design, Collecting and Adventure", Rizzoli International Publications,Inc., 2011.