The Fashion Designers Who Worked “Behind the Seams” at the White House

Gerard Ortiz


Manner is a hugely influential cultural products that has assisted form community knowing of America’s electricity, legacy, and evolving attitudes for centuries—and in the White Property, very simple fashion statements can just take on outsized political and cultural significance. The decision to wear American-manufactured attire during the Terrific Melancholy in the 1930s served Lou Henry Hoover communicate the significance of supporting the cotton textile industry in an ailing economy. The bubblegum pink shade most popular by Mamie Doud Eisenhower grew to become known as “Mamie pink” and was worn by quite a few women in the ‘50s and ‘60s. And Jackie Kennedy ushered in a new period of design and style, with her timeless Chanel suits, outsized sun shades, and pillbox hats inspiring innumerable imitators.

But with the focus positioned squarely on the highly effective ladies in the garments, a lot less is regarded about the groundbreaking designers, seamstresses, and couturiers who worked guiding the scenes to shape generations of fashion—and White House—history.

These designers are the focus of the digital exhibition Glamour and Innovation: The Ladies Driving the Seams of Trend at the White House, launching in June 2022 as component of a new collaboration concerning NYU’s Steinhardt School of Tradition, Schooling, and Human Progress and the White Property Historic Association. As the association’s inaugural electronic exhibition intern, NYU Steinhardt Costume Experiments graduate student Maegan Jenkins collaborated with the David M. Rubenstein National Center for White Household Record and its digital library workforce to highlight the storied occupations of eight gals who made some of history’s most legendary outfits.

The exhibition is element of the association’s focus for 2022 on “White Home Tastemakers and Trendsetters,” which encompasses a closer search at the delicacies, manner, social traditions, and people who lived, visited, or labored in the White House and influenced or affected American lifestyle.

Jenkins’ exhibition will protect above a hundred several years in vogue historical past, commencing with Elizabeth Keckley, Mary Lincoln’s dressmaker who was born enslaved, to the mysterious designer Mary Matise, who designed Rosalynn Carter’s 1977 inaugural ball robe. This electronic exhibition features a mix of archival pictures, press clippings, portraits, and superior resolution images that will allow for digital website visitors to zoom in and take a look at these designers’ intricate craftsmanship—such as the 2,000 rhinestones hand sewn into Mamie Eisenhower’s inaugural robe. 


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