Black Ancestors : Black Fashion Museum: Lois Alexander

Discussion in 'Honoring Black Ancestors' started by cherryblossom, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Lois Alexander Lane; Founder Of Harlem Institute of Fashion

    Lois K. Alexander Lane, 91, started a museum to highlight African Americans' contributions to the fashion business.

    By Adam Bernstein
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Saturday, October 27, 2007

    Lois K. Alexander Lane, 91, who started a fashion institute and museum in New York's Harlem neighborhood to interest blacks in the garment trade and highlight their contributions to the industry, died Sept. 29 at the Magnolia Center nursing home in Lanham. She had Alzheimer's disease and liver cancer.

    Mrs. Alexander Lane was a seamstress, boutique owner and 36-year federal employee, mostly with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and its predecessor agencies. She retired in 1978 as a HUD community planning and development officer in New York.

    She had a home in Washington much of her working life but settled in New York in the early 1960s to complete a master's degree in retailing, fashion and merchandising at New York University.

    Her thesis explored the history of blacks in retailing, and her research led to discoveries of many unheralded African American dressmakers. Her continued interest led her to start the Harlem Institute of Fashion in 1966 and the Black Fashion Museum in 1979.

    The institute gave free courses in dressmaking, millinery and tailoring as well as courses in English, mathematics and African American history. It brought Mrs. Alexander Lane many community honors, including the 1992 Josephine Shaw Lowell Award for her efforts to improve the lives of New York's poorest residents.
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    The museum, an arm of the institute started with a National Endowment for the Arts grant, exhibited clothing designed, sewn or worn by blacks since the 19th century.

    One highlight was a collection of dresses the late Ann Lowe designed for wealthy patrons such as the Rockefellers, Roosevelts and DuPonts. Lowe also designed the wedding grown of future first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

    "In the process we discovered that few Americans -- black or white -- are aware of the contributions made by black Americans in the creative fields of fashion," Mrs. Alexander Lane told The Washington Post in 1981. "There is an oft-quoted myth that black people are 'new-found talent' in the fashion field and we want to change that."

    COMPLETE ARTICLE HERE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/26/AR2007102602221.html


     
  2. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Ann Cole Lowe (1898 – 1981) was an African American fashion designer. She designed the wedding dress for Jacqueline Bouvier when she married John Kennedy.
    She was born in Clayton, Alabama,[1] the great granddaughter of a slave and plantation owner.[2]
    She married in 1912, at age 14, and enrolled in a fashion school in New York City in 1917. After graduation, she opened a salon in Tampa, Florida, before returning to New York in 1928, where she worked on commission for stores such as Chez Sonia. In 1946, she designed the dress that Olivia de Havilland wore to accept the Academy Award for Best Actress for To Each His Own, although the name on the dress wasSonia Rosenberg.[2]
    She designed for various upper crust New Yorkers, including the ivory-silk-taffetawedding dress for Jacqueline Kennedy in 1953.
    She worked her later years at Saks Fifth Avenue, where she was featured in a 1960 advertisement.[2]
    Felled by glaucoma, she lost an eye but continued to design through 1960 for Madeline Couture and briefly operated Ann Lowe Originals on Madison Avenue in New York.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann_Lowe
     
  3. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Ann Lowe: Black Fashion Designer Who Created Jacqueline Kennedy's Wedding Dress (PHOTOS)

    The Huffington Post | By Julee Wilson Posted: 02/05/2013 2:24 pm EST | Updated: 02/05/2013 3:00 pm EST
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/...cqueline-kennedy-wedding-dress_n_2624316.html

    WHO: Ann Cole Lowe, fashion designer
    THE MAJOR MOMENT: In 1953, Lowe designed Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' wedding dress for her marriage to John F. Kennedy. The voluminous, off-the-shoulder dress was constructed out of 50 yards of ivory silk taffeta. Just 10 days before the wedding ceremony a water line broke in Lowe's New York City studio and ruined the former First Lady's gown along with all 10 pink bridesmaids dresses. Lowe worked tirelessly to recreate all 11 designs in time for the Rhode Island nuptials. Sadly, Lowe did not get the credit she deserved for designing and creating Jackie's all-important dress. Jackie is said to have told people that her gown was made by a "colored woman dressmaker" and Lowe was only mentioned by name in the Washington Post where fashion editor Nine Hyde simply wrote "… the dress was designed by a Negro, Ann Lowe."


    THE DRESS:
    [​IMG]
     
  4. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    [​IMG]
    Ann Cole Lowe
     
  5. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    http://nmaahc.si.edu/collections/blackfashion

    Black Fashion Museum Collection

    When Lois K. Alexander-Lane (1916-2007) founded the Black Fashion Museum in 1979, "black fashion" was considered an anomaly. Most believed the African American community's contributions to design were relatively recent and fairly insignificant—or worse still, they weren't considered at all. Alexander-Lane knew this all too well. While studying for her master's degree at New York University in 1963, she proposed a thesis on the historic role of African Americans in Manhattan retailing; her professor responded by saying African Americans played no such role. Her resulting thesis—and later her life's work—proved otherwise.
    Previously housed in a two-story row house on Vermont Avenue in Washington, D.C., the Black Fashion Museum Collection comprises more than 700 garments, 300 accessories, and 60 boxes of archival material collected by Alexander-Lane throughout her life. In 2007, Alexander-Lane's daughter, Joyce Bailey, donated the Black Fashion Museum's entire holdings to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The research collection—one of the largest and rarest of its kind—includes a dress sewn by Rosa Parks shortly before her famous arrest in Montgomery, Ala.; a beige-patterned skirt worn by an enslaved child in Leesburg, Va.; the original Tin Man costume designed by Geoffrey Holder for the 1975 Broadway musical, The Wiz and a replica of the inaugural gown created for Mary Todd Lincoln in 1865 by Elizabeth Keckley, a former slave.
    "The collection runs the gamut of clothing and accessories from the 19th century to the 1980s, and includes everyday wear to haute couture, as well as theater and performance costumes," says Michèle Gates Moresi, curator of collections at the NMAAHC. "What they all share is an excellence in workmanship and design."
    Clothing and bonnets worn by slaves in the mid-1800s appear alongside an elaborately constructed opera cape made by a former slave. Other items include gowns by Ann Lowe, a pioneering African American designer whose patrons included the Rockefellers, the Du Ponts, the Vanderbilts, and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. "The objects not only tell the story of black fashion," Moresi says, "but of the women and men who created them, wore them and held on to them for years."
    Lois K. Alexander-Lane eventually published her own book, Blacks in the History of Fashion in 1982. Now that the collection is at the Smithsonian, researchers can continue to explore this rich part of history and we can learn about African Americans' significant role in American design and fashion. The collection was also the subject of a feature article in The Washington Post.
     
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