Wedding dress of Jacqueline Bouvier

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Wedding dress of Jacqueline Bouvier
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis2.jpg
Artist Ann Lowe
Year 1953 (1953)

The wedding dress of Jacqueline Bouvier was worn by Jacqueline Bouvier (later Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis) in her wedding to John F. Kennedy on 12 September 1953. The dress is cited as iconic and one of the best-remembered bridal gowns of all time.[1]

The bouffant wedding gown was the creation of Ann Lowe made from 15 metres (49 ft) of ivory silk taffeta. The veil, made of lace, however, was the one worn by her grandmother in her wedding.[2] Ann Lowe, who made the gown and also held the trail (so that it did not get trodden), was not given due credit by name. When Jacqueline was asked a question as to who made the gown, she replied that it was made by a "colored woman."[3]


Toni Frissell, John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier on their wedding day, 1953.jpg

The wedding dress was designed and made by African-American dressmaker Ann Lowe, a couturier famous for many rich and famous people.[4]

The neckline was described as the portrait type and the skirt was a bouffant style. Mini wax flowers decorated the skirt. The lace veil she wore belonged to her grandmother. A tiara made of lace, decorated with orange blossoms in the traditional form, was used to tie the veil to her hair. White and pink gardenias and orchids were arranged in the bouquet that Jacqueline carried with the dress. The jewelry, which complemented the wedding dress, were very few but what she wore were of significance; these were the single strand of pearls that belonged to the family heirloom, a diamond leaf pin gifted by her parents, and a diamond bracelet, a present given to her prior to the wedding day by John Kennedy. The matron of honor was Lee Bouvier Canfield, her sister, and Nina Auchincloss acted as her maid of honour and flower girl. There were ten brides maids, apart from attendants. The brides maids were dressed in pink silk faille with Tudor caps.[5]

The wedding gown of ivory silk taffeta, a huge round skirt was made out of 50 yards (46 m) of ivory silk taffeta. Interwoven tucking bands and tiny wax flowers were part of the full bouffant skirt.[6]

Retrieved from a mishap[edit]

The dress which Ann Lowe had designed and made with silk chiffon taffeta, after nearly two months of toil, was ruined along with nine other dresses (out of a total 15 gowns) in a flooding that occurred in Lowe's Lensington workroom, which occurred 10 days before the wedding. There was a frenzy of activity with the supplier having enough material to replace the entire loss. Enough material of silk chiffon taffeta for the gown and the pink silk faille and red satin for the bridesmaids dresses were provided. Miss Lowe and her staff worked day and night and completed the wedding dress (cutting, sewing and all) in eight days flat (from Thursday to Thursday), compared to eight weeks which she spent on the original dress; they delivered the dress on the due date. However, it is mentioned that instead of making an estimated profit of US$700, Lowe ended up losing US$2,200 on the project.[7]

Not her favorite[edit]

The dress was very traditional with the huge bouffant skirt. This invited a remark that “the dress wore Jackie, not the other way round." The design was in deference to the wishes of the Kennedy family, even though the bride's own wish was for a simple dress with firm lines that would have complimented her tall slim figure.[8] Despite the acclaim for the dress around the world, Jacqueline later admitted to friends that she didn't like her wedding dress, because it accentuated her flat chest.[5] She was critical of the dress and also said that it looked "like a lampshade."[9]


  1. ^ Daniels, Maggie; Loveless, Carrie (23 February 2007). Wedding planning & management: consultancy for diverse clients. Butterworth-Heinemann. p. 214. ISBN 978-0-7506-8233-6. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  2. ^ "Bridal Icons and their influence on Modern Bridal Gowns". Augusta Jones Collections. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  3. ^ Christopher Andersen (1997). Jack and Jackie: Portrait of an American Marriage. Avon. ISBN 978-0-380-73031-5. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  4. ^ Smith, Joel P. (April 2011). Candid Comments: Selected Columns from the Eufaula Tribune, 1958–2009. NewSouth Books. p. 207. ISBN 978-1-60306-068-4. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Tracy, Kathleen (1 May 2008). The Everything Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Book: A Portrait of an American Icon. Everything Books. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-59869-530-4. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  6. ^ "Jackie Kennedy Wedding Dress 1953". Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  7. ^ Johnson Publishing Company (December 1966). Ebony. Johnson Publishing Company. p. 140. ISSN 0012-9011. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  8. ^ Tina Santi Flaherty (5 April 2005). What Jackie Taught Us: Lessons from the Remarkable Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Penguin. pp. 18–. ISBN 978-0-399-53080-7. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  9. ^ Ronald Rothstein; Mara Urshel; Todd Lyon (5 March 2002). How to Buy Your Perfect Wedding Dress. Simon and Schuster. pp. 21–. ISBN 978-0-7432-2581-6. Retrieved 2 May 2011.