Exhibition to tell story of the designer and her decades-long career

WINTERTHUR, DE (September 12, 2022) – An exhibit entitled Ann Lowe: American Couturier will present the life and work of the remarkable and influential American designer who designed couture gowns for debutantes, heiresses, actresses, and society brides, including Jacqueline Kennedy, Olivia de Havilland, and Marjorie Merriweather Post. The exhibit will be open at Winterthur Museum, Garden, & Library from September 9, 2023, to January 7, 2024.

In 1964, The Saturday Evening Post referred to fashion designer Ann Lowe as “Society’s Best-Kept Secret.” Lowe made gowns that influenced international style—intricately constructed, beautifully designed, and custom-made for each client. For decades, she remained virtually unknown to the wider public. Since then, too little recognition has been given to her influence on American fashion. The exhibition will reveal her evolution as a designer from the 1920s to the 1960s, illuminating her ongoing engagement with fashion trends and shifting cultural moments. 

This is the largest exhibition of Lowe’s work to date, featuring 40 gowns, many never before on public view. Ann Lowe’s recently emerging visibility as a designer stands in contrast to much of her career and the countless unrecognized Black dressmakers and designers who have contributed to American fashion for generations, including her own grandmother and mother. She blazed a path for others to follow and her legacy is still felt in fashion culture.

The exhibition will also feature the work of contemporary couturiers and fashion designers whose current design practices, perspectives, and career paths reflect the trajectory of American fashion emanating from Lowe’s foundation. These include B Michael, Tracy Reese, Amsale Aberra, and Bishme Cromartie. Elizabeth Way, associate curator at The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, is guest curator of the exhibition. 

For information, call 800.448.3883 or visit Winterthur.org/AnnLowe.

This exhibition is made possible through support from the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Coby Foundation, Ltd., and the National Endowment for the Humanities.