History Of Style: Designer Ann Lowe
Among the long list of African-American designers, Ann Lowe stands out as the first noted fashion designer. She was known for her elegant gowns such as the turquoise and dark green laced dress that hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her work was most popular from the 1920s to the 1960s although she didn’t receive credit for much of her designs during that time.
Lowe is most famous for designing the much-celebrated wedding dress of Jacqueline Kennedy in 1953. The First Lady wore an ivory silk tafetta wedding dress that sat off the shoulders and fit her body to the waistline. From the waist down, the dress included many added horizontal pleats that added style while matching the appearance of the bodice.
Mrs. Kennedy was not the only affluent client of Lowe. She also designed for many wealthy families including the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts. She worked tirelessly for a number of celebrities including Olivia de Havilland. Lowe designed a lovely strapless light green dress with a pop of pink and floral design for the actress to wear to the 1946 Academy Awards.
It took many years before Anne Lowe received the notoriety she so deserved, but her work is now displayed in museums throughout the United States including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Black Fashion Museum, and The Smithsonian.