Maxwell, Vera

(1903-1995)
   Born in New York, Maxwell started out wanting to be a ballet dancer. She landed her first job as a "showroom girl" at Linker and Klein on Seventh Avenue. Although she had no formal fashion training, she began sketching and producing clothing designs that she sold to Lord & Taylor, which at the time was promoting American contemporaries Bonnie Cashin, Tina Leser, and Claire McCardell. In the 1940s, Maxwell was the creator of the Rosie the Riveter coveralls that were made for women working for the war effort in the United States. In 1947, she opened her own sportswear company, Vera Maxwell Originals. She was one of the first designers to work in ultrasuede and the synthetic fabric, Arnel. She is best known for her "six-piece ensemble" that was designed in 1975 to fit into one carry-on bag, ideal for air travel. Maxwell's clothes were designed for ease and comfort. A retrospective of her work was held at the Smithsonian Institute (1970) and another at the Museum of the City of New York (1980). She retired in 1985 but returned in 1986 to design a collection for Peter Lynne.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. .

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