It was Ann Lowe.
And, yes, I'm talking about the Jackie Onassis Kennedy who married JFK in 1953.
Now, that that is out of the way, let me share why the once brilliant twinkle in my eye for Jackie Kennedy has been diminished. She did the unthinkable and never gave Ann Lowe her 'roses'. When a reporter asked Kennedy Onassis who the designer of her handmade artwork was, she responded, "a colored dressmaker."
She had an opportunity to go high even though she had originally wanted a French designer, and instead, she choose to bestow anonymity to Ann. Thus, the twinkle in my eye for the once-beloved fashionable first lady has been snuffed out!
Ann Lowe was the cat's meow when it came to bridal and debutante gowns having dressed the elite East Coast families of the time including the Rockefellers, Du Ponts, and Roosevelts. At a time when the civil rights movement was just kicking off, Ann Lowe, having learned the craft from her mother and enslaved grandmother, was highly sought after and had even done the wedding dress of Jackie Kennedy's mother, Janet Auchinchloss!
There's much more to this story including the precision, skill, and sheer genius with which Ann created masterpieces that included S-shaped "wiggle bones" in the corsets and the on-the-bias panels.
When delivering the wedding and bridesmaids' gowns, she was told to use the service exit and persisted until she was able to walk into the front door. Again, there is more story to be told!
Needless to say, I will be one of the first patrons at the upcoming exhibition, "Ann Lowe, American Couturier" when it comes to Delaware's Winterthur Museum Garden and Library in September 2023. Who's coming with me?!