Mary Josephine McFadden was born October 1, 1938 in New York City) is an American fashion designer and writer. She grew up on a cotton plantation near Memphis, Tennessee, her father was a cotton broker. After graduating from Greenvale and Foxcroft, McFadden studied at the ńcole Lubec, and at the Sorbonne. Following she studied fashion at the Traphagen School of Design and sociology at Columbia University and at the New School for Social Research, New York. She also attended the Dante Alighieri Institute in Rome.
After her education at Colombia University, Miss McFadden began an extensive career in fashion. It includes positions at Christian Dior, as the publicity director in New York and Vogue South Africa, special projects editor, before launching her first collection in New York in 1973. As an editor for Vogue South Africa, she developed an interest in African sculptural forms; with her interest in African art and curiosity for other cultural textiles, she created three tunics. These simple yet unique garments served as the foundation of her growing design house. In 1976 McFadden won a Coty Award and was inducted into the Coty Hall of Fame in 1979. Since then she has received many honors including the President"s Fellows Award of the Rhode Island School of Design and has served as President of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. McFadden"s collections have been shown on runways in New York, Paris, Rome, Milan, Tokyo, Guatemala, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Beirut, Lebanon, Russia, and India. In the late 1990"s she embarked on various design possibilities such as: home furnishings, jewelry and a premier collection of furs.
Since the 1980s Mary McFadden concentrates on building an international antique textile collection. Today, through her many philanthropic endeavors she continues to uncover distinct cultures and utilizes her individual style to benefit others.
For Fall 2012 designers are inspired by a wide range of influences, from the elaborate details of brocade and metallic gold embellishments to the dynamic mix of military chic and power pantsuits. Colo