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Women Dressing Women: A Lineage of Female Fashion Design

Huber, Mellissa and Karen Van Godtsenhoven, with contributions by Amanda Garfinkel, Jessica Regan, Elizabeth Shaeffer, and Elizabeth Way, a preface by Andrew Bolton, and photography by Anna-Marie Kellen
212 pages
198 illustrations
9.12 x 11.70 in
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This beautifully illustrated book explores the considerable impact of fashions created by and for women by tracing a historical and conceptual lineage of female designers—from unidentified dressmakers in eighteenth-century France to contemporary makers who are leading the direction of fashion today. Stunning new photographs of exceptional garments from the unparalleled collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute complement insightful essays that consider notions of anonymity, visibility, agency, and absence/ omission, highlighting celebrated designers and forgotten histories alike to reveal women’s impact on the field of fashion. The publication includes garments from French houses such as Vionnet, Schiaparelli, and Mad Carpentier to American makers like Ann Lowe, Claire McCardell, and Isabel Toledo, along with contemporary designers such as Rei Kawakubo, Iris van Herpen, Simone Rocha, and Anifa Mvuemba. Situating the works within a larger social context, this overdue look at female-led design is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of fashion.

Evening dress, Ann Lowe  American, nylon, metallic thread, silk, American
Ann Lowe
ca. 1960
Wedding dress, Ann Lowe  American, cellulose acetate, American
Ann Lowe
Robe à la française, silk, French
ca. 1770
Afternoon Dress, (a) silk, cotton, metal; (b) silk, cotton, metal, American
Evening dress, OLYMPE  American, silk, mother-of-pearl, American
Olympe Boisse
ca. 1865
Evening dress, Ann Lowe  American, silk, American
Ann Lowe
Saks Fifth Avenue
Tea gown, Premet  French, silk, metal, French
Madame Lefranc
ca. 1913
Evening vest, Callot Soeurs  French, linen, French
Callot Soeurs
Marie Callot Gerber
ca. 1910
Evening dress, Callot Soeurs  French, silk, metal, French
Callot Soeurs
Marie Callot Gerber
ca. 1910
Evening dress, Madeleine & Madeleine  French, silk, cotton, metal, synthetic, French
Multiple artists/makers
ca. 1923
Evening ensemble, Jeanne Hallée  French, silk, glass, French
Jeanne Hallée
Marie Angenard
Court presentation ensemble, Boué Soeurs  French, (a, c, d) silk, metallic threads; (b) silk; (e) feathers, plastic (cellulose nitrate), French
Multiple artists/makers
Evening dress, Lucile Ltd., New York  American, silk, cotton, American
Lucile Ltd., New York
Lucy Christiana Duff-Gordon
Evening dress, Louiseboulanger  French, (a) silk, feathers; (b) silk, French
Marie-Louise Boulanger
Dress, Premet  French, silk, cotton, French
Charlotte Révyl
fall/winter 1929–30
Ensemble, House of Chanel  French, silk, French
House of Chanel
Gabrielle Chanel
ca. 1927
Evening dress, Chez Sonia  American, silk, metal, American
Chez Sonia
Sonia Levienne Colefax
Evening ensemble, House of Chanel  French, silk, plastic, suede, glass, French
House of Chanel
Gabrielle Chanel
fall/winter 1938–39
Evening ensemble, Marcelle Chaumont  French, (a, b) metal thread<br/>(c) silk, French
Marcelle Chaumont
Marcelle Chapsal
fall/winter 1948–49
Evening dress, House of Vionnet  French, silk, metal, French
House of Vionnet
Madeleine Vionnet
fall/winter 1924–25
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Huber, Mellissa, and Karen van Godtsenhoven. Women Dressing Women: A Lineage of Female Fashion Design. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2023.