Ann Lowe, born in 1898 in Montgomery, Alabama, was in a lineage of seamstresses who had established their own dressmaking business with her grandmother and mother specialising in embroidery. When Lowe was sixteen, her mother passed away and in her mother’s place, she completed a high-profile order from the governor’s wife. This established her as the new head of the family business. In 1917, she travelled to New York City to take sewing courses.
After she permanently moved to New York City in 1928, she became famous for her one-of-a-kind gowns made of fine fabric and handiwork, often evoking floral motifs. Specialising in debutante gowns, Lowe opened her stand-alone business in 1950, “Ann Lowe’s Gowns” in New York City. Lowe is now recognised as a pioneering African American couturier. Her pieces are preserved in renowned museum collections including the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of New York, and The Museum at FIT.
Image: Ann Lowe_Societys Best Kept Secrect_Featured in the Saturday Evening Post 1964 _Image Courtesy of the Smithsonian.
Text: Square, J ‘The Life and Work of Ruby Bailey, Zelda Wynn Valdes, and Ann Lowe’. Available at: https://www.fashionstudiesjournal.org/histories/2016/8/30/the-life-and-work-of-anne-lowe-zelda-wynn-valdes-and-ruby-bailey
McVicker, M (2020) ‘1898-1981 – Ann Lowe’ 13 July. Available at: https://fashionhistory.fitnyc.edu/1898-1981-ann-lowe/