Jackie Kennedy's Wedding Dress Had to Be Completely Remade 10 Days Before Her Nuptials

The former first lady's iconic bridal gown almost didn't happen.

Photo: New York Daily News Archive

Over 50 years later, Jackie and John F. Kennedy's nuptials are still considered one of the most iconic celebrity weddings of all time. The fairy-tale event, which took place in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1953, wasn't without its hiccups, however. Just two weeks before what would have been the late couple's 66th anniversary, the unusual, distressing story about then-Jacqueline Bouvier's wedding dress has resurfaced.

Although she never received credit during her lifetime for designing the former first lady's bridal gown, Ann Lowe was the creative who ideated and executed the off-the-shoulder masterpiece. During the mid-1900s, Lowe had became the go-to dress designer for much of New York City's high society. The Washington Post reports that she was called upon by the Rockefellers, the Roosevelts, and the du Ponts to create bespoke fabrications. "I love my clothes, and I'm particular about who wears them. I'm not interested in sewing for cafe society or social climbers," she allegedly said at the time. In 1953, Lowe was commissioned not only to make Bouvier's wedding gown, but all of the gowns for the bridesmaids and the bride's mother.

After more than two months working on the gown—which was made out of more than 50 yards of silk taffeta—disaster struck. A mere 10 days before the wedding, a pipe burst in Lowe's studio. The damage ruined 10 of the 15 dresses she and her assistants had already finished—the bride's included.

Lowe and her team worked around the clock to re-create the masterpiece; it is now reported that the designer lost roughly $2,200 on the project, instead of making a profit (that amounts to $21,000 in today's economy). To add insult to injury, Lowe never received credit for the creation, despite making it two times over. Even worse? Allegedly, "[Jackie] didn't love the dress," NPR reports.

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