How are people inspired by history, landscape, myth and memory? On a cold night in November, some lucky people got to peek into the mind of fashion designer Mary McFadden and find out. After the Moore College of Art tapped McFadden for its 2008 Visionary Woman award and presented an exhibition of her designs and selections from her personal textile and jewelry collection, McFadden reciprocated, delivering a slide show and lecture on the creative process behind her ethereal, feminine fashion collections.
“I travel,” she said, “take thousands of pictures, buy sixty books and then go back home and read them all. Then I design the collection in a half hour.” The audience gasped. “But it takes a long time to get to that point!” she exclaimed.
Her inspiration came from everywhere: The Elgin Marbles, Pre Colombian pottery, Japanese, African and Middle Eastern textiles. She pointed out that while the pleating found in many of her clothes resembles ancient Greek robes, they are also reminiscent of a a dessert terrain’s wind blown sands. The motifs she painted on her clothes came from looking at ocean waves, the sky, and bird’s wings. One look at her clothes and you understand. But she did a lot of looking and thinking before she put pencil to paper. That was the most important concept I came away with.
Here are some more pictures from the exhibit.