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Couture Designers You Should Know About

Couture Designers You Should Know About

Deanne Olivi L

Have you ever wondered about fashion history? Get to know some of these amazing couture designers! Provided below are their names, some of their achievements, and their special client lists.

Elizabeth Keckley

A photograph of Elizabeth Keckley, circa 1861. | Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University via

Elizabeth Keckley was from Dinwiddie County, Virginia. She used her skills as a seamstress to buy her way out of slavery in 1855, which led her to freedom.

This lovely purple silhouette below, was said to be one of her pieces.

Elizabeth Keckley is believed to have made this purple velvet ensemble for Mary Todd Lincoln. | The National Museum of American History via


  • Mary Todd Lincoln
  • Marina Davis
  • Mary Anna Custis Lee  

Patrick Kelly

Fun-loving Patrick Kelly the stuff of fashion legend. | Keith Beaty (1989) via

Patrick Kelly was from Vicksburg, Mississippi. As stated in PBS, he would sell his tube-shape dresses on the street while having his models advertise the looks for him. His approach caught the eye of Elle Magazine in 1985. He was also the first American to be submitted into the Chambre Syndicale du Pret-a-Porter des Couturiers. 

Patrick Kelly poses with models in his colorful designs. | Photo from Instagram by @bonanza_82 via


  • Cicely Tyson
  • Grace Jones
  • Bette Davis
  • Isabella Rossellini

Zelda Wynn Valdes

Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes (1901-2001) |

Zelda Wynn Valdes was born in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. According to Fashion abc, she was the first African-American women to open a shop on Broadway, which is now Washington Heights on Broadway and West 158th Street. She was the first person to manufacture the play boy bunny costume for Hugh Hefner. 

The blue satin “bunny suit” manufactured by Zelda Wynn Valdes. | Courtesy of the Museum at FIT via


  • Hugh Hefner
  • Josephine Baker
  • Dorothy Dandridge
  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Eartha Kitt

And that concludes our fashion talk! I hope you all learned a lot! If you’re interested in other fashion topics click HEREHERE, or HERE! 😉

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