Black Fashion History: Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes

Zelda Wynn Valdes,  fashion and costume designer  was revered for her design talent and best known for her skill in highlighting the female body. She got her start in fashion creating outfits for her dolls as a child in Chambersburg, Pa., and began cutting out patterns from newspaper. She studied her grandmother’s work as a seamstress…

Black Fashion History: Designer Ann Lowe

   Ann Cole Lowe, fashion designer  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…

Fashion School: Elizabeth Keckley

Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley February 1818 – May 1907 was a former slave who became a successful seamstress, civic activist and author in Washington, DC. She was best known as the personal modiste and confidante of Mary Todd Lincoln, the First Lady. Keckley had moved to Washington in 1860 after buying her freedom and that of her son in St. Louis. She created an independent business in the capital…