In honor of Black History Month I will be sharing a Style Fact each week. The focus will be on a legendary African-American woman who contributed greatly to the North American fashion industry. This week I will kick it off with the fashion designer Ann Cole Lowe.
Born in Clayton, Alabama in 1898 Lowe was the great granddaughter of a slave and plantation owner. She finished fashion school in New York in 1917 and eventually began to work on commission in retail stores. She went on to design the dress that Olivia de Havilland wore when she won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1946. This is despite the fact that another designers name was added to the label.
Ann Lowe is most known for designing Jacqueline Bouvier ( aka Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis) wedding dress in 1953 to John F Kennedy along with other elite New Yorkers. Some of the New Yorkers include the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, and the Roosevelts. Despite her eyesight decreasing she still continued to showcase her work Ann Lowe Originals in New York.
Lowe also designed through 1960 for Madeline Couture and was even featured in an advertisement with Saks Fifth Avenue. Take a look at the marvelous Jackie O dress below which is on display at the Kennedy Library in Boston Massachusetts. Ann Lowe definitely led the way for the African American designers we see today by being one of the first African Americans to have her own fashion house. She is definitely an icon in her own right.