Woman’s blue cotton and white eyelet bathing suit, 1959. This De Weese Design suit and matching cover-up were part of the donor’s trousseau. The suit has a back zipper and elastic smocking for fit. Mary Ellen Long married Charles Seignious Way, Jr. on August 15, 1959. The family was deeply involved with the development of area beaches as popular resorts. Mary Ellen’s father, J. C. Long, purchased 1300 acres on the Isle of Palms in 1944, forming the Beach Company and her husband, Charles, purchased Kiawah Island in 1988, making it the tourist destination it is today.

Gift of Mary Ellen Way in 2012

This suit is currently on exhibit in Seasonal Fashion: Summertime in Charleston

Mary Ann Deweese began her fashion design career in 1934 with Los Angeles Knitting Mills followed by three years at Sandeze. During her 12 years as head designer for Catalina, she received world-wide acclaim. She worked with studio designers for many of the stars and for many years designed the Miss America pageant swimsuits. In 1951, she launched her own company – Deweese Designs – creating high-fashion swimsuits and sundresses. In 1961 she designed the official US team suits for the World Water Team Championships and the Olympics in 1960.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our new Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday