Women Dressing Women: A Lineage of Female Fashion Design

Metropolitan Museum of Art. Dec. 2023. 212p. ISBN 9781588397201. $50. DEC ARTS
Accompanying a Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition of the same name, this book focuses on the Met’s collection of clothing created by women, broken into four thematic sections. “Artistry and Anonymity” discusses the unsung contributions of largely anonymous seamstresses and dressmakers before the late 19th century, which is the turning point when designers of French haute couture began to be credited by name. “New Visibility for Women in Fashion” covers 1900 to 1968, when designers such as Coco Chanel and Madeleine Vionnet (but also those less well-known today) began to be recognized; more women designers were working during this era than in any other time in history. “Agency and Identity and the Poetic of Women Designers” covers 1968 to the present, chronicling even more women who brought innovation, as well as political engagement and diversity, to fashion design. Meanwhile, the section “Absence and Omission” underlines how talented designers of color have been excluded from canonical narrative of fashion history, citing the example of the Black designer Ann Lowe, who created Jacqueline Bouvier’s dress for her wedding to John F. Kennedy, without public recognition.
VERDICT With many beautiful images of clothes, including some three-sided views, this excellent book is recommended for readers interested in women fashion designers, particularly those who are not well-known today.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing