Upcoming!  A Major Fashion Exhibit at Winterthur Museum

Mark you calendars for a visit to Winterthur Museum in Winterthur Delaware, (USA) in the Fall of 2023.  Ann Lowe, American Couturier opens on September 9th and runs through January 7th, 2024. 

For those of you unfamiliar with Ann Lowe, she probably is best known as the designer of Jackie Kennedy’s wedding gown when she married John F. Kennedy in 1953 –  but Lowe is so much more than that.  For decades she was the designer of choice for “America’s most prominent debutantes, heiresses, actresses, and society brides.”  Despite designing couture-quality dresses and gowns for such an extensive and elite clientele, she remained virtually unknown in the public arena.  Even a feature in the Saturday Evening Post in 1964 calling Ann Lowe “Society’s Best-Kept Secret” failed to secure the recognition she deserved.  Recently, however, her place in the pantheon of American Fashion Designers has begun to be recognized, and this major exhibit of her work will undoubtably elevate Lowe to the pinnacle she so richly deserves.  

I share this short biographical blurb on promotional material from Winterthur Museum:  

Winterthur’s Exhibition will showcase approximately 40 of Lowe’s dresses and gowns, gathered together from museums and private collections across the country.  In addition there will be approximately 10 works by contemporary Black designers, influenced by the timeless style and legacy of Lowe’s volume of work.  

Here I share 4 images of dresses included in the Exhibition:

Printed Silk Ensemble, c. 1930s, Anonymous Gift to the Cincinnati Art Museum
Evening Dress, c. 1955, Silk Velvet, Lent by The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Gift of Eleanor Cates
Evening Dress, c. 1962-64, Made for Saks Fifth Avenue by Ann Lowe, Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Carll Tucker Jr.
Elizabeth Mance Concert Gown, c. 1966-67, From the collection of Elizabeth Mance deJonge.

Last Fall I had the privilege of visiting Winterthur’s Conservation Lab where several of Lowe’s dresses and gowns were being prepared for exhibit. Readily apparent in these pieces was the engineering skill of the designer – all those things going on inside the dress to perfect the fit and carriage of it for each client.  Although much of this inside story will obviously not be on display, each and every dress will surely tell its own story of beauty, quality and style.  

This Exhibition is guest-curated by Elizabeth Way, associate curator of costume at The Museum at FIT.  For more information, visit www.Winterthur.org.  


Filed under couture construction, Fashion Exhibits, Fashion history, Uncategorized

10 responses to “Upcoming!  A Major Fashion Exhibit at Winterthur Museum

  1. ourpipsqueak

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Do you know if a catalog is available for this exhibit? I looked on the museum site but didn’t see anything and you can’t shop online. I’d sure love to get one, the dresses I saw were amazing!

  2. Joan

    Thanks very much for this advance heads’ up! Time enough to put this on our calendars. Truly gorgeous work by a woman who has not been appropriately recognized!!! I hope there are also plans for the exhibit to travel, as well.

    • Hi Joan, At this point I have not heard of any plans for the Exhibit to travel. Part of the reason is the fragility of many of the dresses. I’m very excited about this Exhibit, and its accompanying catalog – so much work has gone into both, and I’m sure they will be spectacular.

  3. This is wonderful to know but I’m sad to say that I’ll miss this exhibit. I’ve been to Winterthur before and am set to visit it again next month. I did have the pleasure of seeing the fabulous exhibit showing the collaboration between Mr. DuPont and Mrs. Kennedy when she restored and decorated the White House during President Kennedy’s residency. I can highly recommend this as a magnificent museum and grounds to visit. I learned a lot by touring this fantastic site. Thank you for sharing the photos of the stylish garments designed and made by Ann Lowe.

    • I’m so sorry you will miss the Exhibit, but Winterthur is not just right around the corner for most people. I have a 45 minute drive to get there, which is so easy. I think it is safe to say there is NO place like Winterthur Museum! Enjoy your visit next month…

  4. Mery

    Ooh, lovely, lovely lines in those dresses. Youthful without being too girlish for a lady. I did not know about her. I trust the book the gift shop will surely sell when the exhibit opens will be good. I intend to buy it even if I don’t go.
    Learning about her and her designs is a very pleasant treat. Thank you.

    I hope you and yours are enjoying spring.

    • Yes, I’m sure you will be able to purchase the catalog. I know there will be several photos of the “inside” story as I call it, of some of the gowns, in the catalog. That will be a treat for those of us who sew and know fine couture fashion. We are in a lovely stretch of weather right now – I hope the same is true for you!

  5. Linda D.

    Thank you so much for posting this. I’ve previously read a little about her, what I could find. I’ve also seen a few other pictures online from a museum. Gorgeous dresses and gowns. I bet the upcoming exhibition will be spectacular! They will also have
    a weekend conference in October related to this exhibit at the museum. Thanks again for taking the time to write, post the pictures and reference the Winterthur. Truly appreciated!

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