The surprising story behind Jackie Kennedy's wedding dress

When it comes to legendary romances, the advertising, fairytale wedding, and subsequent marriage of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Lee Bouvier is one of the most frequently told stories of the last century. Jackie Kennedy’s spectacular ivory silk taffeta portrait neckline wedding dress has since become one of the most emulated styles for brides.

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in Ann Lowe’s wedding dress, who sat next to John F. Kennedy at their wedding on September 12, 1953.

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Less known is the story of its designer Ann Lowe, the incredibly talented pioneering African American couturier who served much of New York’s high society in the 1950s, including the Rockefellers, the Roosevelts and the du Ponts.

Lowe regularly made dresses for the International Debutantes Ball, was an avowed “terrible snob” and is said to have been devastated when she was berated by the 24-year-old future first lady. Not to mention the responsibility of providing Jackie Kennedy’s wedding dress with its own challenging set of circumstances. “I love my clothes and I take special care of who wears them. I’m not interested in sewing for the cafe society or social climbers, ”Lowe told Ebony magazine in 1966.