She was born in Clayton, Alabama the great granddaughter of a slave and plantation owner
She married in 1912 at age 14 and enrolled in a fashion school in New York City in 1917. After graduation she opened a salon in Tampa, Floridabefore returning to New York in 1928 where she worked on commission for stores such as Chez Sonia. In 1946 she designed the dress that Olivia de Havilland wore to accept the Academy Award for Best Actress for To Each His Own — although the name on the dress was Sonia Rosenberg.
She designed for various upper crust New Yorkers including the ivory-silk-taffeta wedding dress for Jacqueline Kennedy in 1953.
She worked her later years at Saks Fifth Avenue where she was featured in a 1960 advertisement