image source: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/84036
Designer: Vera Maxwell (American, 1901–1995)
Credit Line: Gift of Vera Maxwell, 1947
After searching for the designs from Vera Maxwell, I found out her work “uniform” the most appealing to me. As a fan of sportswear, it is interesting to see how functional clothing change through different eras and Vera Maxwell was considered one of the great sportswear designers along with Tina Leser, Bonnie Cashin, and Claire Potter, etc.
About Vera Maxwell
some interview of Vera Maxwell with FIT.
Maxwell was born in the Bronx. Although studying Ballet in her early years, she ends up being the fashion industry from modeling to designing for other manufacturers and founded her own company of Vera Maxwell Originals, in 1947. As a designer who first used Ultrasuede and the synthetic fabric Arnel, she usually creates her designed clothing with a range of sizes from 18 – 20. As a previous dancer, she also did designs for performers such as Martha Graham and Lillian Gish. In the 1960s, her attention to design shift to London designs such as Mary Quant. Maxwell retired in 1985 but returned in 1986 with one final collection designed for Peter Lynne before his retirement.
This suit was being seen making women attractive during the 40s. Several buttoning options are made on the clothing and it was sportswear designed with a streamlined jumpsuit that aligned with the contemporary beauty as well. Artists including Norman Rockwell also recalls the fact of Rosie the Riveter–the woman who replaced enlisted men in the war industries. Women were no longer just housewives during the 1940s, They have turned from the workplace and even to the military as support for moving the society forward.
Uniform and Sportswear in the 1940s
Due to the situation of WWII and the leading force of US sportswear, fabric use was limited, designed for uniforms and civilian style became less formal. Women gain a huge role not only in the armed force but also in the sportswear design industry. Early designs of sportswear were most associate with the ready- to- wear manufacturers. Garments were designed to be easy-to-wear and comfortable, and common fabrics of denim, cotton, and jersey were used for design. Women start to adapt the wearings of pants as well, and they are no longer limited to men only.