This striking plaid ensemble designed by Elizabeth Keckley for Mary Todd Lincoln was on the cutting edge of fashion, but also in good taste – embracing the latest French trends while relying on a distinctively American plaid and minimal trimmings in light of the ongoing Civil War.
Tag: Elizabeth Keckley
Elizabeth Keckley, a remarkably successful dressmaker, built her career upon exacting technical standards, graceful clean lines, and an understanding of Parisian fashionable trends. She is well known for her work for the political elite of Washington DC, particularly for Mary Todd Lincoln. Keckley was one of the first African American women to publish a book and was an impassioned activist who created a relief organization for newly freed enslaved persons.
This 1863 gown, worn by Mary Todd Lincoln, is an exquisite example of fashionable dress from the early 1860s. With its elegant fabric and thoughtful details, it reveals more about the wearer and the creator, Elizabeth Keckley, an accomplished seamstress who is integral to the history of African-American fashion.
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