The evening was so culturally relevant that The Crown dedicated an entire episode to it.
The sun was still shining on June 5, 1961, when President Kennedy and his wife Jackie climbed into their car for the brief drive over to Buckingham Palace. They were excited to enjoy a swanky dinner with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
A member of their entourage was Jackie’s best friend and sister, Princess Lee Radziwill. Stunning guests in an original Givenchy gown with tiny crystals that illuminated throughout the low-lit ballroom. Not mentioned in the below video… Lee almost did not get an invite! In America’s Queen by Sarah Bradford, Bradford claims that there was pause in inviting Jackie’s sister and her husband, Prince Stanisław Albrecht Radziwiłł because divorcées were not invited to State Dinners. Obviously, the palace caved, but not before refusing two additional guests that Jackie requested to attend… allegedly.
60 years later, costume designer Henry Wilkinson stumbled upon Lee’s Givenchy gown in a London theater costume closet.
Wilkinson is a fashion historian and enjoys renovating vintage couture, especially Givenchy, back to its original glory. He was in the market for a new project when a London theatre told him that they had a Givenchy bodice, clearly ripped from a gown, hiding in a costume closet. They also claimed that the piece was somehow related to Jackie Kennedy. With that, Wilkinson was sold… and his adventure began. Watch the video above to hear their journey.
We also asked Mr. Wilkinson about his experience in the costume department of Bridgerton. The costume designer had a blast working under creative genius, Ellen Mirojnick. Wilkinson discusses mood boards and ornamenting beautifully crafted dresses. I also snuck some Regé-Jean Page in this video because he is heavenly. Follow costume designer Henry Wilkinson on Instagram.