As you all know, it is Black History Month. We all know that February is known for celebrating Valentine's Day, but I celebrate it for all of the achievements of African Americans, whether known or unknown. I have been researching blacks in fashion, and I am so excited from the research I have found. Tonight, I will highlight another African American fashion designer, Anne Lowe.
Anne Cole Lowe was born in Clayton, Alabama in 1898. She was the great-granddaughter of a slave and plantation owner. She was married in 1912 at the age of 14, and attended fashion design school in New York City in 1917. After graduation, she opened a salon in Tampa, FL, but moved back to New York City and worked on commission at Chez Sonia.
In 1946, she designed the dress worn by actress Olivia de Havilland when she accepted her Academy Award for Best Actress in To Each His Own.
Her most famous design was the wedding dress of Mrs. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, when she married John F. Kennedy in 1953.
This famous off-shoulder gown was constructed from 50 yards of silk taffeta.
Unknown fact- 10 days before the wedding ceremony, a waterline broke in Lowe's studio in New York City and destroyed the future First Lady's wedding dress, along with 10 bridesmaids dresses. Lowe worked tirelessly to re-create the 11 dresses in time for the famous wedding.
Although this dress is Lowe's most famous design, she did not get the credit she deserved. According to the Huffington Post, it was reported that Jackie told people that her gown, "was made by a colored woman dressmaker." Her name was mentioned in the Washington Post when fashion editor, Nine Hyde, had written, "the dress was designed by a negro, Anne Lowe (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/05/ann-lowe-black-fashion-designer-jacqueline-kennedy-wedding-dress_n_2624316.html#slide=2065950)." Lowe's other high profile clients included New York society families, the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts.
Lowe busy at work
- The Black Fashion Museum
- The Smithsonian
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Until Next Time!