How Carolyn Besset-Kennedy's Wedding Dress Cemented Minimalism

How Carolyn Besset-Kennedy's Wedding Dress Cemented Minimalism
25 years ago Carolyn Besset-Kennedy got married to John F. Kennedy Jr., and to this day, her wedding dress remains a thing of iconic legend. In an age where minimalism hadn't fully become a thing yet, even though designers had started opting for simpler styles and silhouettes, Carolyn's wedding dress was a bold move despite its striking simplicity. In fact, it was bold because of the simplicity. A simple slip dress? No lace, no corset, no cinches, no pleats? No way! Except, yes way, because the ever fashionable Carolyn trusted her good friend Narciso Rodriguez to create the most beautiful dress for her, and he delivered.

The minimalist dress was also in line with the minimalist theme of their wedding. Even Carolyn's hairstyle was a simple updo held together by a pin that once belonged to the glamorous Jackie O. There was no fancy banquet hall or giant cathedral with hundreds of people in attendance. Instead, the couple opted for a 40-person ceremony in the First African Baptist Church on Cumberland Island, Georgia. The wedding had been highly anticipated as far as celebrity weddings go, and it made waves. But the dress! The dress completely stole the show on account of it being such an unexpected move.

In 2018 Narciso Rodriquez shared some insights about the dress with Vogue. “It was a great moment in my career but also a beautiful moment in my personal life, as someone I loved very much asked me to make the most important dress of her life.” The photographer who covered the event was Dennis Reggie, and he told Vanity Fair that Carolyn wanted the dress to be highlighted in the photos.

"She said, “Show the dress. My dear friend designed the dress.” She knew it would be a moment where the dress would show fully…. The dress was lovely, and very fitting. She certainly wore it beautifully and it was made for her. It was lovely in its simplicity and elegance and was very much consistent with the theme or feel of the wedding. It was five-star perfection," Reggie said.

Since then, so many people have commented on how iconic the dress was, including fashion designer Cynthia Rowley who said, "I was so awestruck at the time with its simplicity. It’s so sleek and sexy at the same time, so glamorous." In fact, even the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle has expressed admiration for Carolyn's dress, calling it 'everything goals' in an interview with Glamour Magazine in 2016.