In remembrance of the 35th President, John F. Kennedy and his tragic assassination 50 years ago, StyleStamped celebrates his first lady, and the first lady of the United States from January 1961 – November 1963. We remember Jackie for her strength, poise, simplistic style, and grace. She is an American icon, and more specifically an iconic figure in style. One of John F. Kennedy’s (JFK) last words to his wife in preparation for their trip to Dallas, TX where the fatal event occurred was, “Be simple – show these Texan’s what good taste really is.” In response, Mrs. Kennedy wore her husband’s favorite look; a pink wool bouclé two-piece suit through Dealey Plaza on the memorable November day five decades ago.
The suit Mrs. Kennedy (Jackie), wore on that day has become an American artifact and a symbol of her strength. Prior to this day, Jackie had already experienced personal tragedy with the loss of two children, with her youngest son dying a few days after birth months before his father’s assassination. Through it all Jackie remained poised, as she showed the world on that tragic day. She refused to take off her pink suit for hours and when asked about changing she stated “No, I’m going to leave my clothes on, I want them to see what they have done to Jack.” She kept on her blood-stained attire until after her husband’s successor Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn into Presidency later on that day.
What ties this together is the woman in the suit, much more than the suit itself. At just 34 years old, the world was looking at the woman and observing her every move. The suit was just a tangible item for people to identify with. Coco Chanel once stated, “Look for the woman in the dress. If there is no woman, there is no dress.” The suit, a Chanel replica that was made in America by Chez Ninon, is now forbidden from public view for the next 100 years and can not be viewed until 2103 to avoid sensationalizing it. This was a decision made by Caroline her daughter and sole surviving heir. The suit has been provided to the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, Maryland and is kept in an acid free container at 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit. The air is changed approximately every 20 minutes, and the suit remains in immaculate condition having never been dry cleaned. The blood stains of her husband JFK still remain.
Jackie had a sense of old Hollywood glamour, and one of her favorite fashion icons was Audrey Hepburn. Hubert de Givenchy, the designer for Ms. Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” was Jackie’s go-to designer. She enjoyed wearing the designer Cassini’s designs, Chanel jackets, A-line skirts by Dior, pillbox hats, pumps, pearls, brooches, long white gloves, and over-sized sunglasses. She influenced woman’s attire throughout her life with her wonderful fashion choices. She loved bright colors – pink, yellow, red, and ivory.
Jackie’s style was presented exquisitely during her wedding to JFK in 1953. Her wedding dress, designed by an African American designer named Ann Cole Lowe, was an amazing princess styled ivory-silk taffeta.
Jackie was a wonderful woman in StyleStamped history and will continue to be a legend in American Style. As Yves Saint Laurent once stated, “Fashions fade but style is eternal.” Jackie’s style will continue to remain eternal, and her character as a woman will always be remembered as an example of class and strength; a woman who loved her husband, children, fashion, and the Country she lived in.