Here are Jeffrey’s incredible take on fashion visually and with brilliantly researched text…each a treasure to be added to your expanding fashion book library. I’ve listed them chronically…
With this post I complete my celebration and exploration of Black History Month through the many books about Black designers, influencers and authors. A varied group of entrepreneurs ALL making their mark not only in the history of fashion but history period! They must be saluted, remembered and studied. I hope all fashion study programs in all levels of education take note and include them in their curriculum and all libraries and book sellers have them in their stacks. As I said in my first post on this subject, we must learn our history not toss it away and let’s honor Black history all the time not just one month a year!
I want to continue celebrating Black History Month highlighting books on Black fashion designers and influencers. I know I am only touching the surface and encourage you to seek out these remarkable stories, interest you to read these books, add them to your expanding fashion library and most importantly enrich your knowledge of many unsung talents and their fascinating stories. I’m also including notable Black authors whose books explore the intricate fashion business….there will will be a Part 3. Do share other books that I’m not including. First, let’s acknowledge more designers…
And, of course, the iconic Virgil Abloh’s books…Figures of Speech exhibition, mounted by Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art is traveling to the Brooklyn Museum from July 1, 2022 through January 29, 2023….an exciting unique exhibition, not to be missed! Three Abloh books (and I’m sure more to come)! A talent whose legacy will live on with the designers he mentored.
I think I’ll stop here…so many more to delve into…stay tuned for Part 3!
To celebrate Black History Month….in fact every month, I wanted to share some books by and about Black fashion designers and other Black fashion/beauty/lifestyle influencers. I’m very happy to say it is a long list and I’m sure I’m only scratching the surface. In today’s post I’m going to feature two of the fashion designers. This is a diverse group of creators and they span three centuries. At a time when we seem to be in a “cancel culture” mode I want to upset that notion….I am a FIRM believer that we must know history….the good, the bad, the ugly….to understand our world, how to not make the same mistakes, how to grow and improve…and how to maintain the positive! I can’t even comprehend the absurdity of banning books…talk about going backward, how can we learn without all opinions! Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox…my blog has and will continue to be a safe zone from the politics of the day.
Here we go….I’m going to begin with the first Black designer of note, Elizabeth Keckley, dressmaker to Mary Todd Lincoln and Washington DC socialites. Her story is beyond fascinating, born into slavery she bought her freedom through her dressmaking…extraordinary. There are several books about her, an autobiography, a biography and several novels, I would suggest all of them. Here is a story that needs to be absorbed and, in my opinion is as important as the beginning of Haute Couture and Charles Worth. What makes that a comparison is the period of time when they were creating. Everyone knows about The House of Worth…in my humble opinion, now is the time, long over due, to shine the spotlight on Elizabeth Keckley! An amazing grouping of books, I’m sure you agree…all worthy of additions to your fashion library.
Next, let’s explore the relatively unknown creator of Jacqueline Bouvier’s gown when she married Jack Kennedy, Ann Cole Lowe! Lowe not only produced an extraordinary bridal gown (under the patronage of Joseph Kennedy!) but the gowns for the entire wedding party. Already a known designer for New York and Washington movers and shakers….Ann Lowe was not credited for these gowns! I am featuring two books, the only two I could find, keep you eyes out for a novel to be published on June 22, 2022, the last image
I featured a book by Petra Slinkard in my monthly nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club….both these designers are highlighted in this extraordinary book…another to add to your library
Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Books…Books…Books: Black Fashion Designer Books posts next week. Lots more to explore.