Dressmaking & Tailoring
The Birth of Dressmaking in America
Dressmaking allowed American designers to emerge as named entities. One of the first was
Jessie Franklin Turner, a couturier who began designing under her own label shortly after
World War I. From the 1920s to the 1930s, she was noted for her beautifully colored and
richly textured tea gowns.
In the late 1920s, two of America’s best-known couturiers were
Elizabeth Hawes and Valentina. They were joined in the late
1930s by Claire McCardell.
Some argue that McCardell was the greatest American designer
in modern history. She infused her designs with absolute function
and rigorous aesthetics, and she combined those crucial
elements with the realistic accessibility that she pioneered.