Vintage Designer Vera Maxwell

Vera Maxwell. A massive name in the design world from the 40’s to the 70’s and now forgotten about. Her fashion mantra was designing clothing to be both fashionable and functional and in that she most definitely succeeded. In a 1964 New York Times article, Maxwell’s clothes were described as “handsome, interesting, and eminently wearable”

Born in New York city in 1901, Vera became well known in the 1930’s for her fashionable sportswear designs after she gave up ballet dancing and modeling to pursue a career in making comfortable, wearable clothes.

In 1947, she founded her own label called Vera Maxwell originals and by the 1970’s her clothing was sold in over 700 stores. She was best known for her classic separates and suits. She often used  fabrics  from men’s clothes or different countries, rough Indian silks even camel’s hair. She had the ability to turn these heavy fabrics into something sleek and beautiful.

Her practical clothing was especially appreciated during war times and she even designed several work uniforms for female factory workers, the military and other service industry sectors.

Although her popularity had declined by the late 1970s, she continued to trade until closing the business and retiring in 1985, leaving behind a collection of timeless, classic designs. She has been honored in exhibitions in the Smithsonian and the New York city museum and some of her work is still on display in the met. I fell in love with some of the images I found of her work, my favorite being the grey one, 4th one done! Which ones yours? X


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Following the precepts of her idol, Coco Chanel, Mrs. Maxwell devoted herself to making timeless clothes that women could move around in. In 1975, she showed what she called a “speed suit,” which was actually a pull-on dress with a stretch top and no zippers, buttons, snaps or ties. A woman could slip it on in seconds.






  • Blaubushka

    beautiful pieces!

  • http://beautyshy.com Courtney

    I love the third photo.  Wonderful post :)

  • http://www.ladyofashion.blogspot.com Ladyofashion

    I want that entire tweed over coat! So cool that she designed work clothes for factory workers. I bet they would be still pretty interesting … even now!  *random notation: I want nothing but capes lately! 

  • http://2cutelingerie.com/ Sexy Lingerie

    The cleanliness of religious dresses in Eastern Religions like
    Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Islam and Jainism is of paramount
    importance, since it indicates purity.

    Clothing figures prominently in the Bible where it appears in numerous contexts, the more prominent ones being: the story of Adam and Eve, Joseph’s cloak, Judah and Tamar, Mordecai and Esther.

  • http://2cutelingerie.com/ stilettos

    Such as Rapanui, a UK based sustainable fashion brand use Vestas Wind Turbines to power their textile mill in India, where organic cotton
    is turned into products for the UK market. To use conventional methods
    of generating electricity, by burning fossil fuels, would negate the
    positive effects of using sustainable materials and consequently the
    company could not honestly call itself sustainable and may be guilty of Greenwashing.

  • Eden

    This style = to die for. Wish I could pull it off!
    — Eden http://vantagepointvintage.com/blog

  • Kate Kearns

    The beautiful images above fill me with joy and wonderful recollection of the clothes which women have worn throughtout the seven decades of my life. Somehow the drama of the earlier decades (40’s, 50’s and sixties) seems to have taken a step back into the wings of life’s everyday stage.  Very seldom today do we gasp and look as someone passes us in the street. 

  • danielle.talbot

    So gorgeous!

  • danielle.talbot

    Beautiful collection

  • Jake

    nice collection. One of the great designer.

    Jon of http://www.lastyleloft.com

  • http://frenchnyc.bandcamp.com/ Ian Afterbirth

    As a straight dude (to which my baseball card avatar attests), I must say that these are some lovely designs and I can’t help but ache, somehow, for a time when such sights were not so uncommon.

  • Allie Bullock

    Hi. Great site. I’m Vera’s cousin and a writer working on her story as we speak! Thanks for your kind words about Vera. :)

    • jezebel538

      Thank you Allie! She is a true legend!