Mary McFadden: Designer & Collector

Mary McFadden: Designer & Collector

01/04/2024     General, General Paintings, Asian Works of Art, General Furniture & Decorative Arts

“Designing was an effortless exercise and something I always enjoyed.”
                       — Mary McFadden

NEW YORK, NY -- Doyle is honored to auction property from the Collection of Mary McFadden. This remarkable collection features a rich diversity of furniture, paintings, ceramics, bronzes and other objects from China, Japan and other regions of the world.

Fashion designer, collector, editor and inveterate traveler, Mary McFadden was born in New York in 1939 to a socialite mother and a prosperous cotton broker. She was educated at the Foxcroft School in Virginia and continued her studies in Paris at the École Lubec at the Sorbonne and in New York at the Traphagen School of Design, Columbia University and the New School for Social Research.

Mary McFadden began her career in fashion at Dior New York as director of public relations. In 1964, she married her first husband Philip Harari, a merchant for De Beers diamonds, at St. Bartholemew’s Episcopal Church on Park Avenue -- her bridesmaids included Warhol star Baby Jane Holzer. Five years later, she married her second husband Frank McEwen, Director of the National Gallery in Zimbabwe. With the assistance of her friend Diana Vreeland, she found work as an editor for South African Vogue, later freelancing for French Vogue in 1968 and as special projects editor at American Vogue.

In 1976, she established her eponymous clothing company Mary McFadden Inc. in New York. Inspired by her travels around the world, she created distinctive designs celebrating the arts and cultures she experienced in Africa, Greece, Asia and South America. Her timeless silhouettes combined luxurious fabrics with exotic decorations and details that reflected her deep appreciation for and understanding of ancient and ethnic cultures.

Mary McFadden was the recipient of numerous awards and honors during her acclaimed career in fashion. She served as president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and received the CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award and the CFDA Industry Tribute Award. Following two Coty Awards in the 1970s, she was inducted into the Coty Hall of Fame. The United Nations honored her with their Women Together Award, and she was named the first “Living Landmark” by the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

Described as a “fashion archeologist,” Mary McFadden applied her sophisticated artist's eye for color, harmony and proportion to amass an exceptional collection of fine and decorative arts from around the world. The upcoming Doyle at Home auction offers an exciting opportunity to acquire these fascinating objects collected by a legendary connoisseur and tastemaker of fashion, art and design.

Doyle at Home

Auction Wednesday, January 10, 2024 at 10am
Exhibition January 6 - 8

View Property from the Collection of Mary McFadden 


Photograph of Mary McFadden: James Salzano for the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

Richard Cervantes

Richard Cervantes

SVP / Director of Asian Works of Art