As a child of the ‘70s myself I was a witness to the changes in couture and fashion that Mary McFadden helped usher in during that decade and before.
Although I was woefully ignorant of the source and the rationale of the change that I saw occurring, I remember being greatly impressed by the visual feast that displayed itself in the windows and on the streets of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood where I worked. As someone whose fashion sense (if you could call it that) ran towards beachwear and re-purposed dance gear it was the beginning of a revelation. It seemed that almost overnight the streets were alive with gorgeous, flowing fabrics in luminous, exciting colors and replete with intriguing details. This is the art that Mary McFadden help bring to glowing life. Of course Ms. McFadden’s contributions to the worlds of art, fashion, travel, and journalism preceded my nascent observations of style and fashion by several years.
The book opens with a beautiful dedication by Mary to her mother, the first Mary McFadden. It is a warm and touching remembrance of a woman adored and admired in a way that transcends time and space. After that there is a lovely piece penned by the brilliant Nobel Prize winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann, friend and long-time companion of Ms. McFadden, reminiscing about his travels and adventures with her. He includes a short anecdote about climbing near the Continental Divide with Mary arrayed in couture and high-heels. He assures us that she has since expanded her wardrobe to include some appropriate hiking boots.
What follows is a book of fantastic photography, chronicling her extensive travels throughout the world, though primarily in Africa and Asia, along with several of the extraordinary pieces and exhibitions that she has created over the many years she has dedicated her life to her art. This is definitely a book that should be left out in plain view, as it will evoke memories and stimulate conversations about the beauty and relevance of art and fashion in the world today.
Other Explore Booksellers Staff Picks:
1. “Julie Taymor: Playing With Fire, Theater, Opera, Film” by Julie Taymor
2. “Dior Couture” by Patrick Demarchelier
3. “Culo” by Ralphael Mazzucco
4. “Thomas W. Benton: Artist/Activist” by Daniel Joseph Watkins