Vera Maxwell was born Vera Huppe on April 22, 1903 in New York City.
She trained as a ballet dancer and joined the Metropolitan Ballet as a teenager.
For a while she worked as a model modeling clothes for a wholesale comapany.
Around this time is when she began sketching, designing, sewing and modeling her own clothing.
In the 1930's she designed items such as the "weekend wardrobe" and the collarless tweed "Einstein" jacket.
During World War II, when most European fashions were not available in the U.S., Maxwell along with other designers began producing stylish clothes that observed the various different wartime restrictions.
She utilized basic fabrics to produce feminized versions of men's clothing such as jackets based on lumberjack shirts.
Maxwell opened her own business in 1947.
Starting in the early 1970's she began using Ultrasuede in her designs.
1974 marked the year that she created the "Speed Suit" a dress that had an elastic waistband that could be pulled on in just 17 seconds.
She closed her business in 1985.
Vera Maxwell died in 1995.
*The photograph pictured above is of a travel ensemble designed by Maxwell in 1948 that is in the collection of the Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
1950's green wool suit.
Measurements are 42" Chest, 29" Waist and 40" Hips
You can purchase this suit for $32- over at Violetville Vintage
1970's periwinkle blue ultra suede dress with burgundy tie belt.
Measurements are 38" Chest and 30-32" Waist
You can purchase this dress for $65- over at Ballyhoo Vintage Clothing
1970's black "Speed Suit" with floral print skirt.
Measurements are 28-37" Chest, 25-34" Waist and 41" Hips
You can "Buy It Now" for $74.99 over at Encore Vintage on eBay
This post was originally published on April 25, 2007.