Fashion. Fun. Feelosophy. Fashion-Designer Ann Lowe

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Ann Cole Lowe (1898 – February 25, 1981) was an American fashion designer and the first Black American to become a noted fashion designer. Lowe’s original designs were a favorite among high society matrons from the 1920s to the 1960s.
In 1917, Lowe and her son moved to New York City where she enrolled at S.T. Taylor Design School. School was segregated, Lowe was required to attend classes in a room alone.
After graduating in 1919, Lowe and her son moved to Tampa, FL., and opened her first dress salon, “Annie Cohen”. The salon catered to members of high society and quickly became a success. Having saved $20,000 from her earnings, Lowe returned to New York City in 1928. Ann worked on commission for stores such as Henri Bendel, Chez Sonia, Neiman Marcus, and Saks.
In 1946, she designed the dress that Olivia de Havilland wore to accept the Academy Award for To Each His On, although the name on the dress was Sonia Rosenberg her pseudonym.

 In 1953, she designed the ivory silk taffeta wedding dress worn by Jacqueline Bouvier when she married Senator John F. Kennedy. Mrs. Kennedy was not the only affluent client of Lowe. When asked who made her wedding dress, she replied “a black dressmaker”. Ann Lowe was chosen by Janet Auchincloss, the mother of Jacqueline Bouvier, who had previously commissioned Ann to design the wedding dress she wore when she married Hugh D. Auchincloss. Ann also designed for the Rockefeller’s and Vanderbilt’s.

Her clients never paid hundreds of dollars for their original lavish gowns instead convinced Ann to pay as little as possible. After paying her staff, she often failed to make a profit on her designs. Lowe later admitted that at the height of her career, she was virtually broke. In 1962, she lost her salon in New York City after failing to pay taxes. That same year, her right eye was removed due to glaucoma. While she was recuperating, an anonymous friend paid Lowe’s debts which enabled her to work again. Soon after, she developed cataract in her left eye which was saved after surgery. In 1968, she opened a new store, Ann Lowe Originals, on Madison Avenue. She retired in 1972.

 

A collection of five of Ann Lowe’s designs are held at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum on Art.
Her infamous turquoise and dark green laced dress hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 Her work is now displayed in museums throughout the United States including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Black Fashion Museum, and The Smithsonian.

xoxox,

AK

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About crazechameleonstudio

Craze Chameleon Studio established in 1999 by founder Aisha Keys, a native Washingtonian, is one of the must vintage clothing collections in D.C. At the age of 23, her distinct fashion style turned the heads of many people on the streets of D.C., thus propelling her into a career as a personal shopper and fashion stylist to aspiring models, vocalists, musicians, and local fashionistas. Because of her ability to change her look from day to day, she was nicknamed the Chameleon; thus creating Craze Chameleon Studio. A studio of vintage clothes from the 20’s – 60’s. At the Studio, Aisha creates masterpieces utilizing her creative eye and vintage pieces. “…through my original style and vintage apparel, I show people how to put it all together and create their own unique fashion statement.” Aisha Keys. Craze Chameleon Studio has carved out its own niche among vintage retailers by providing up to the minute fashion that looks as if it is off the runway today, but is an original garment from fashion past. Since opening in 1999, CCS has been one of D.C.’s vintage clothing resource and one of the most celebrated vintage destinations in the D.C. area; supplying clothes to many retailers in the metropolitan area like Kaur, Nana, Meeps, Crossroads, Buffalo Exchange, Reddz Trading and Mustard Seed. CCS has an incredible array of vintage clothing from cocktail dresses, furs, suits, designer garments, accessories for men and women, and household collectibles and furnishings. There is an exclusive collection of used and dead stock items at the studio. To make an appointment call 2022008892 or email crazechameleonstudio@gmail.com

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