Mary (1938). American designer with an ethnic influence. She has made great use of African and Chinese textiles, in quilted jackets and pleated silk tunics in the style of Fortuny. Born in New York, she spent her childhood on a cotton plantation near Memphis, Tennessee. With a degree in sociology from Columbia University, from 1962 to 1964 she worked in public relations for Dior in New York. In 1965, she moved to South Africa, where she worked as a fashion editor for Vogue. In 1968, she married in Zimbabwe and opened an atelier for young African sculptors. She returned to New York and in 1976 launched a company designing evening gowns made of bright and vivacious fabrics. She received the Coty Award in 1978 and is now part of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Her list of honors increased with a second Coty Award, a Neiman Marcus Award and a recognition from the Rhode Island School of Design. McFadden is now present in two American Halls of Fame: at Coty Hall and in the Best-Dressed List Hall of Fame.
&Quad;2002, March. At South Beach she received the Fashion Week of the Americas career award, as “an American fashion legend and an international innovator.” For the first time since it was launched in 1999, the prize was awarded to a non-Hispanic designer.