Bonnie Cashin Day Ensemble

Early American fashion designer introduces the concept of layering

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Bonnie Cashin (1915–2000) created garments that could adapt to a variety of environments and tasks, developing flexible wardrobes with the on-the-go woman in mind. She is credited with bringing the concept of layering to fashion so that the wearer could be comfortable in any environment.

In creating what Stanley Marcus praised as “functional clothes,” Cashin felt she was developing "simple art forms for living in, to be rearranged as mood and activity dictates." Her innovative, layered separates earned her an Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion in 1950.

Cashin was a part of a World War II era wave of American designers who revolutionized the way women dressed. Up until that point, the world had turned its eyes to Paris as a fashion center, but they had to look elsewhere during the war. Rather than echoing the complicated, custom-made styles of the French, New York designers began making clothes reflecting American culture and life. Depression-era practicality and active lifestyles of American women inspired designers to create versatile, affordable, mass-produced clothing. This "American Look" brought new innovations — comfortable clothing with flexible fit, separate tops and bottoms that could be mixed and matched, and components that could be layered.

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Bonnie Cashin Day Ensemble Artifact from Denton
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