Ann Cole Lowe Fashion Designer
Born in Alabama 1898. Ann Cole Lowe was the first African American to become a noted fashion designer. Mrs. Lowes designs were a one-of-a-kind among self-titled high society matrons during the 1920s to 1960s. In 1953 Mrs. Lowe designed the silk ivory taffeta wedding dress worn by Jacqueline Bouvier when she married John F. Kennedy
Almer mater S.T. Taylor Design School. In 1917 Ann moved to Ne York with her son. She enrolled in the design school. As the school was segregated, Ann was required to attend classes in a room alone. After graduating in 1919, Ann and her son moved to Tampa, Fl. The following year, she opened her first dress salon, called Ann Cohen. The salon catered to members of high society and quickly became a success. Having saved $20,000 from her earnings, Ann returned to NYC in 1928. For a time she worked on commission for stores such as Henri Bendel, Chez Sonia, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. 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 was Sonia Rosenberg. As she was not getting credit for her work, Ann and her son opened a second salon, "Ann Lowe's Gowns" in New York City on Lexington Avenue in 1950. This salon was also a success. The Saturday Evening Post later called Ann Lowe "society's best-kept secret". Over the course of her career, Ann created designs for several generations of the Auchinclosses, the Rockefellers, the Lodges, the Du Ponts, the Post and the Biddles. In 1953, she was hired to design a wedding dress for the Future First Lady Jaqueline Bouvier and the dresses for her bridal attendants for her September wedding to then-Senator John F. Kennedy. Ann was commissioned by Janet Auchincloss, the mother of the bride. In 1968 after recovering from a few health battles and financial woes, Ann open another salon on Madison Avenue called "Ann Lowe Originals". Ann Cole Lowe retired in 1972.