Designer spotlight: Ann Lowe designed Jackie Kennedy’s wedding dress

Ann Lowe is one of the most iconic American fashion designers. Lowe designed one of the most famous wedding dresses in the 1900’s; the wedding dress of Jacqueline Bouvier for her marriage to John F. Kennedy in 1953. The wedding dress was made from ivory taffeta and inspired brides across the country to mimic her style for the next several years. In addition to the wedding dress, Lowe designed the ten pink bridesmaids dresses.

Ann Lowe, who was born in 1898 in Clayton, Alabama, was the great granddaughter of a slave and plantation owner. Lowe was also daughter and granddaughter to dress makers in Alabama society. Ann Lowe was able to overcome the many obstacles she faced in life including discrimination. Lowe was ambitious and she faced two uphill battles in the fight to reach her dreams; she was a woman and she was African-American. Fortunately, Lowe did not let the cultural climate of the day deter her from living the life she wanted to live. Ann Lowe had learned about dress making from her mother and grandmother. It was her dream to design dresses as well, so in 1917 Lowe enrolled in the S.T. Taylor Design School in New York City.

Fashion school in New York was difficult when it came to social matters for Lowe. The white students ignored her so she worked hard to ignore the social atmosphere and concentrate on her studies. After graduating from fashion school, Ann Lowe moved to Tampa, Florida where she opened a salon. In 1928 she decided to move back to New York to pursue her dream of fashion design. Upon her return to New York, Ann Lowe worked in retail clothing stores on commission and continued to work on her design career while not on the company clock. Lowe began designing for top design houses in New York and her name was kept a secret due to her color. Her hard work paid off in 1946 when a dress she designed was worn by Olivia de Havilland at the Academy Awards. Olivia de Havilland accepted her Academy Award for Best Actress while wearing Lowe’s design for her part in “To Each His Own.” The name on the dress was Sonia Rosenberg.

Ann Lowe continued designing dresses and her name slowly became known. Her designs were preferred by society women in New York such as the Rockefellers and the DuPonts; the most well known being Jackie Kennedy. Ann Lowe was considered New York society’s “best kept secret.” Women did not readily admit they were wearing a dress designed by an African-American; but no-one could deny her natural talent and eye for design.

Unfortunately Ann Lowe’s health deteriorated over the years and she lost an eye to glaucoma. This did not stop her from designing dresses. She continued to work for Madeline Couture in New York and then tried her hand at her own label, Ann Lowe Originals for a short time on Madison Avenue in New York. In 1968, Ann Lowe won an award for her designs; “Couturier of the Year” and her name was listed in the Social Directory.

Ann Lowe designs can be seen in present day at the Costume institute of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, Washington D.C. Black Fashion Museum and the Smithsonian.


Jackie Kennedy on her wedding day. Photo: WikiCommons

Platinum wedding band trends for 2011

Platinum is back. The last few years the recession halted many consumers from buying high end platinum setting for their wedding rings. Instead, many consumers went for less expensive 18K or 14K gold settings. Over the last year, many consumers have recognized that jewelry is an investment that appears to be more stable than the stock market, that being said, platinum settings are more popular than ever.

More than ever, celebrities have influenced platinum wedding sets in 2010, which means the ring settings that graced the ring fingers of Hollywood starlets will be front and center for 2011. Celebrity stylist and jewelry expert Michael O’Connor has pointed out the top six wedding setting styles from 201 that are sure to be the most requested styles as we move into the 2011 wedding season.

  1. Colored Center Stone: Gone are the days when American women feel the need to have the largest and clearest diamond on Earth. Colored stones are all the rage; as they have been in Europe for centuries. With Kate Middleston and Penelope Cruz wearing blue sapphires, Carrie Underwood in a yellow diamond and Kristina Bell in a colored diamond, the non-clear center stone is all the rage.
  2. Vintage or vintage inspired: Platinum rings with filigree or engraving work are increasingly popular. As seen on Megan Fox, Miranda Lambert and Christina Applegate.
  3. Ultra-Modern diamond cuts and bands: Asscher cuts with trapezoids and cushion cuts with split shanks; mixing and matching less common cuts is hotter than hot. Vanessa Minnillo and Maria Sharapova have both opted for unique mixes of cuts.
  4. Eternity bands: Emily Blunt, Megan Fox and Carrie Underwood have chosen eternity bands with their settings. The eternity band is a sparkling edition to any engagement ring.
  5. Pave and micro-pave: Nicole Richie and Zoe Saldana opted for pave settings to enhance their enter stones. Pave is an understated way to add sparkle without telling the world, “Here comes my hand!”
  6. Classic band: a return to the simple times. Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer and Dave Annable have opted for simple, platinum wedding bands which are shiny or brushed. The classic platinum band is the ultimate wedding band when it comes to understated elegance.

Platinum is classic. In the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s platinum wedding sets were extremely common. In the 1950’s through to the 1980’s, the cost of platinum and ever-changing tastes in fashion made yellow gold wedding sets all the rage. In the 1990’s the platinum setting returned to the center stage and is still going strong today despite a slight drop during the recession.

If you would like to get the celebrity look, check out

SOURCE Platinum Guild International-USA


Carrie Underwood’s durable platinum engagement ring (PRNewsFoto/Platinum Guild International-USA)