Ann Lowe Is the Little-Known Black Couturier Who Designed Jackie Kennedy’s Iconic Wedding Dress

Ann Lowe Is the Little-Known Black Couturier Who Designed Jackie Kennedy's Iconic Wedding Dress

Sixty-six years ago today, Jacqueline Bouvier floated down the aisle of a Newport, Rhode Island, church in ivory silk-taffeta to wed her handsome then-junior senator fiancé John F. Kennedy. The portrait-neckline gown, with its full bouffant skirt, has been indelibly etched in sartorial history as one of the most iconic wedding-day looks of all time, along with Grace Kelly’s elegant MGM-made bridal frock and Kate Middleton’s dreamy Alexander McQueen creation. Jackie’s dress design was the genius of a little-known Black seamstress named Ann Lowe, who was “way ahead of her time,” legendary Ebony magazine fashion commentator Audrey Smaltz tells ELLE.com. “Someone who was just extremely, extremely talented.” Lowe—who opened the door for independent designers of all colors and creeds specializing in formal wear—didn’t have an easy path to becoming one of the most sought-after couturiers. She faced constant racial discrimination while working for America’s most elite families, including the du Ponts, the Roosevelts, the Rockefellers, and, of course, the Kennedys. Lisa Larsen Lowe was born in Clayton, Alabama, in 1898, with fashion running through her veins. Her grandmother, Georgia Cole, made clothes for her plantation mistress before she was freed in 1860, and her mother, Jane Lowe, specialized in […]

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