DALLAS — A retrospective of fashions by black designers will be shown at the African American Museum here Sept. 20 through Feb. 28.

"A Stitch In Time: 1800 to 2000" will highlight the fashions of Ann Lowe, who created dresses for such powerful families as the Rockefellers and DuPonts and is best known for designing the gown worn by Jacqueline Bouvier when she wed John F. Kennedy.

The exhibit features six of Lowe’s debutante gowns from the Fifties and Sixties, as well as three small replicas she was commissioned to make of the 19th-century inaugural gowns worn by the wives of Presidents Harrison, Hayes and Garfield.

Other artifacts include an opera cape from the 1920’s designed by Louvenia Price, a former slave. Assembled by the Black Fashion Museum in Washington, D.C. — which was founded in 1979 by Lois K. Alexander-Lane — the exhibit will display 42 garments and cover textile history through a touch-screen computer.

"It covers the gamut of fashion from the African-American point of view," said Valerie Chisholm, BFM curator.

Featured designers and labels are slated to include Patrick Kelly, Willi Smith, Stephen Burrows, Phat Farm and Sean John.

"We felt it was important to let the community know the achievements of blacks in the apparel industry and its history and also to nurture future designers," Chisholm said.

A variety of historians, designers and educators are expected to speak at the African American Museum as part of the exhibit’s educational program.

Chisholm said "A Stitch In Time" is expected to be shown next summer at a gallery in Winston-Salem, N.C., and in California in fall 2004, but final details are pending.

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