Designer Calvin Klein and Kelly Rector, his design assistant and close friend for several years, were married in Rome yesterday morning. The bride wore an off-white silk suit and lace blouse for the wedding in the historic Campidoglio City Hall. "It's by Calvin, of course," the bride said.

Reporters and photographers were not allowed to view the ceremony, but waited in a drizzle for the couple to emerge. The couple had planned a secret wedding but, according to a wire service report from Rome, the U.S. Embassy alerted American news organizations shortly before the event. Klein, 43, has a daughter, Marci, a junior at Brown University, from a previous marriage. It is the first marriage for Rector, 29.

According to the bride's father Tully Rector, an artist and former film director who lives in Middleburg, Kelly called her mother from Rome the evening before the wedding to give her final details. Kelly's mother, a Vogue cover model in the 1950s known professionally as Gloria Kelly, lives in Santa Monica, Calif. She and Rector are divorced. Kelly Rector, even as a child, "was one of those people able to put clothes together to look terrific," her father said.

After graduation from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, she worked for Ralph Lauren for several years. Then she joined Klein's design team, helping to develop the line of Calvin Klein underwear.

Tully Rector, a bit of a designer himself these days, also imports horse blanket handbags sold by High Horse in Middleburg and bought by Jacqueline Onassis, among others.

The bride owns two show horses and is a frequent visitor to Middleburg, where she rides with Charlie Evaskov, her instructor since she was 5. Pamela Harriman is another of his students. The bride Middleburg after the couple's return from Europe Oct. 10. "She'll probably buy a farm down here," Tully Rector said. "Kelly has always wanted a family -- she's that kind of girl."