Sarah Jessica Parker’s Met Gala look by Christopher John Rogers was a tribute to Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, seemingly this day dress from 1862. Keckley was born in 1818 into slavery, bought her own freedom in 1855, and worked as a seamstress most famously to First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln, the original owner of the plaid dress. Keckley’s life story is an incredible one, and it’s also important to recognize that there were many other enslaved or free African American seamstresses whose names were not recorded, and it’s impossible to truly know how many unlabeled historic dresses in museum collections they may have created.
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