Designed by
Lowe, Ann, American, 1898 - 1981
Worn by
Dowd, Barbara Baldwin, American
Subject of
Black Fashion Museum, American, 1979 - 2007
1966 - 1967
brocaded silk taffeta, silk chiffon, synthetic fiber, buckram, elastic and metal fasteners
H x W: 55 × 46 in. (139.7 × 116.8 cm)
Waist: 30 in. (76.2 cm)
Ann Lowe, considered one of the leading American designers of the 20th century, made beautifully embroidered and hand-stitched gowns. Born in Alabama, Lowe eventually settled in New York City where she dressed society ladies through the 1950s and 1960s. She is renowned as the designer of Jackie Kennedy's wedding gown and bridesmaids dresses.
Pale green teal silk sari gown designed by Ann Lowe. The bodice is sleeveless with a scooped neckline and an empire waist. It is made from the border section of a sari featuring heavy metallic brocade in a geometric design, with the embroidered leaves from a sari border fussy cut from the fabric and sewn around the waist line, the bottom edges left loose to create a three-dimensional detail. The floor-length skirt has a flat front and is slightly gathered at the back. It is made from a sari that has an all-over design of metallic brocaded stylized leaves scattered at wide intervals with blank spaces between them. The edge of the skirt hem is trimmed in a sari border with a stylized floral and geometric metallic brocade design. Individual small metallic brocade leaves fussy cut from a larger sari fabric are sewn onto the skirt near the larger brocaded leaves of the skirt fabric. The dress closes at the center back with a zipper and one (1) metal hook-and-eye. Attached along the back top edge of the bodice is a panel of the same sari fabric used on the skirt that is separate from the back of the dress, extending down to meet the hemline of the skirt. The panel is gathered and seamed along the top edge of the bodice, with a slit cut in the back bodice corresponding to the zipper closure of the dress underneath. This slit is fastened shut with two (2) metal hooks into thread loops. The side and bottom edges of the panel are trimmed in the same sari border used to trim the skirt hem. Pre-tied bows with short tails made from the sari border are sewn at each back shoulder over the top corner seams of the back panel.
The interior bodice is lined in light blue fabric with boning sewn between the facing and lining around the bodice. Interior shoulder straps made from light pink fabric are tacked to the interior of the shoulder straps. A thin strip of elastic is tacked across the bodice outlining the breast cups. A wider band of elastic is tacked at the center front and wraps around under the bust line to fasten at the center back with two (2) metal hook-and-eyes. An interior waist band made from cream ribbon is sewn at the empire waist line and fastens at the center back with two (2) metal hook-and-eyes. The skirt and the underside of the back panel are lined in light teal silk chiffon. There is an attached petticoat made from the same light blue lining material as the bodice that is lined with light weight buckram. A self-fabric pleated ruffle is sewn at the bottom of the petticoat and the bottom edge of the petticoat hem is trimmed in stiff plastic buckram. A white fabric label with black embroidered text is sewn at the center front onto the interior waist band that reads "ANN LOWE / A. F. Chantilly Inc. / NEW YORK" with a woman in a ball gown at the right side.
Place made
New York City, New York, United States, North and Central America
Collection title
Black Fashion Museum Collection
evening dresses
Clothing and dress
Fashion design
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of the Black Fashion Museum founded by Lois K. Alexander-Lane
Object number
Restrictions & Rights
No Known Copyright Restrictions
Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.

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