First-Ever Virtual Fashion Exhibit in Partnership with New York University Explores Eight Influential Designers and Seamstresses For First Ladies

Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 5:01 PM EDT

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The White House Historical Association has announced a new virtual fashion exhibit exploring overlooked designers and seamstresses for first ladies: "Glamour and Innovation: The Women Behind the Seams of Fashion at the White House." The exhibit is the result of an inaugural academic partnership with New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. The partnership with NYU began in January and will continue in 2023, with the next fellow chosen this fall through a competitive application process.

(PRNewsfoto/White House Historical Association)
(PRNewsfoto/White House Historical Association)(PRNewswire)

The Association's first Digital Exhibit fellow, MA/MS Costume Studies student Maegan Jenkins, envisioned the exhibit and researched and built the project in collaboration with the Association's David M. Rubenstein National Center for White House History's Digital Library team.

"Glamour and Innovation: The Women Behind the Seams of Fashion at the White House." explores the work of a diverse group of seamstresses, designers, and couturiers responsible for iconic first ladies' fashions. The exhibit highlights the eight entrepreneurial women who forged ahead despite racial discrimination, demonstrated that American designs could rival Parisian fashion, and designed across the aisle for first ladies of both parties.

Through a mix of archival photography, portraits, biographies, and press clippings, Jenkins' exhibit will cover more than a hundred years in fashion history, beginning with Elizabeth Keckley, Mary Lincoln's dressmaker who was born enslaved, to Mary Matise, who designed Rosalynn Carter's 1977 inaugural gown.

Programming such as this is supported by the sale of the Official White House Christmas Ornament.

About The White House Historical Association

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. In 1961, the White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion's legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association's mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the White House Historical Association has contributed more than $50 million in fulfillment of its mission. To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit

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SOURCE White House Historical Association

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