Eleven of O'Keeffe's dresses hang on a rack. Those on the left are dark shades of black and grey, and on the right, they range from white to light blue and pink. A black wrap dress with a belt is on a mannequin apart from the others on the left side of the frame, facing the camera.


Georgia O'Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe: Crafting an Identity in an Age of Fashion Conformity

May 3, 2023

Throughout most of Georgia O’Keeffe’s life (1887-1986) being “in fashion” and therefore “well-dressed” was defined by conformity to the widely accepted and constantly changing mode of dress that was largely established by couturiers working in Paris. There is ample evidence, both stated and implied by the fashion press and other sources, that stepping outside of the bounds of conformity was neither acceptable nor interesting. The concept of the independent spirit was widely frowned upon in the realm of sartorial expression until the end of the twentieth century. Therefore, the fact that Georgia O’Keeffe worked with existing dress styles in unique (and at some points anachronistic ways) is notable and provides further evidence of her role as a multi-hyphenate maker. This talk explores the fashions that dominated during O’Keeffe’s life and how she and her dressmakers worked with garments to craft a unique style and personal identity.

About the Speaker

Dr. Jennifer Moore is an art and design historian who lives and teaches in New York City. She is a graduate of the Design Studies Ph.D. program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In addition, she earned an MA in Art History from Hunter College, and both an MS in Education and a BA in Philosophy from Fordham University. She has taught art, design, and fashion history as well as courses pertaining to the business of fashion for the past twenty-two years. Dr. Moore’s research is largely focused on twentieth and twenty-first-century fashion, with a special interest in the intersection between design and the business of fashion. She is the author of Fashion Fads through American History: Fitting Clothes into Context (Greenwood, 2015) and Street Style in America: An Exploration (Greenwood, 2017). Dr. Moore also curated, contributed to, and edited a volume of essays called Patternmaking History and Theory (Bloomsbury, 2019).

This talk was recorded as part of our free ‘Mornings With O’Keeffe’ lecture series on the first Wednesday of every month.