Fifty years ago today an event occurred that shook not only America, but the world. I am of course talking about the assassination of President Kennedy. We’ve all seen the video footage of that tragic day in Dallas with Kennedy and his wife Jackie, who was wearing the now iconic pink Chanel suit.
At 43 JFK was the youngest President America had ever had in power and his wife Jackie was only 31 when she became First Lady. Together, the Kennedys represented a new era. The relatively new media form of television allowed the First Family to enter peoples homes and they soon became more than a politician than his wife to the American people. Over 80 million Americans watched the First Lady give a televised tour of the White House restoration project she was overseeing in 1961, which helped to cement her and her husband as cultural icons. For the first time the President and his wife were seen as young and fashionable celebrity figures, often mixing with the stars of the times.
Jackie Kennedys outfits and style were admired by many over her three years as first lady and she is now considered a fashion icon. Many who weren’t interested in politics before were watching the First Ladies every move and wanting to emulate her style in any way they could. She appeared on countless magazine covers and was even named on the International Best Dressed List in December 1964.
Valerie Steele (Fashion historian and director and chief curator of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology), spoke to abc news (http://abcnews.go.com/) and said this of Mrs Kennedy:
“She used the modernity of fashion to imply that her husband’s administration was young, modern and forward thinking”.
The typical ‘Jackie style’ often consisted of sleeveless A – line dress, clean cut suits with low heeled pumps and the now iconic pillbox hats. Even years after her husband’s assassination and after marrying Aristotle Onassis, Jackie was still highly influential in the fashion world. The large styles sunglasses she took to wearing are now known as ‘Jackie O’ glasses, with both Gucci and Rayban having their own Jackie inspired glasses on sale. Decades on even those fashionistas with no knowledge of Jackies historical background use her name to refer to these glasses, a true testament to her iconic status.
Please note I do not own the copyright to any of these photographs.