In 1973, Mary McFadden presented to the public, her first designs which were based on African and Oriental fabrics. This attracted a great deal of attention. Henri Bendel store, bought many of her silk jackets and batik coats.
She formed her own company in 1976 and gained a reputation as a designer of individual, original jackets, coats and dresses based on peasant designs of the Middle East and Asia.
Like most contemporary designers, McFadden has ventured into other products like pleated scarves, dress patterns, eye wear, upholstery fabrics and wallpapers. Her style of interior decoration, as she practices it for herself and others, makes use of the very objects that inspire her fashion collections.
She is also known for her easy sportswear, and hand-painted skirts.
In July 2002, Mary McFadden decided to discontinue her Couture work which she had been doing for 30 years, and concentrate on the Ready-to-Wear business which she had started in September 2001, and was doing very well. Couture garments were not so successful, so she decided not to make any more.
She used lavish fabrics, especially hand-printed silks, and since 1975, has experimented with pleating fabrics which, when made into dresses, resemble FORTUNY gowns. McFadden has been acclaimed for her evening gowns and intricately quilted and decorated jackets.
Her collections always have the McFadden signature, a macramé insert, a knotted belt, a ruffled edge. In every collection there are dresses in striking combinations of black and white.