Mary McFadden worked as a merchandising editor at Vogue, a public relations director at Dior, and a travel editor before landing a career in fashion design. McFadden grew up in New York City and studied in Paris. She was a world traveler and credits her visits to parts of Africa and Asia with the inspiration necessary to start her first line in 1973. She hand painted silk dresses and created simple but decoratively patterned tunics. Pants were becoming a staple in workwear for women of the 1970’s but McFadden saw room for more elegance in the trend. She designed free flowing Chinese style pants made of silk that gave the illusion of a skirt with the ease of a trouser. McFadden’s ethnically inspired designs carried through for 20 years and the brand flourished well into the 1980’s.