Vintage fashion watch: Jackie Kennedy and her fabulous clothes
The elegance, the chic, the supertaste that comprise… The Jackie Kennedy Look (but what is that look??!!)
Let’s admit it: Most of us are celebrity watchers. Somehow we manage to collect a gallery of factual gewgaws about their habits, affairs, divorces and hairdos.
I bubble along with the best of the celebrity watchers. We know, don’t we, that Tony Curtis was once Bernie Schwartz. that Andy Warhol grinds out undergrounds, that Jean-Paul Belmondo is undone by Andress, and that the Beatles are bored.
So amateurs know quite a lot about famous people. How much more the expert must know! Or so I thought until I consulted the experts. I posed one simple question about the most celebrated of all celebrities, and I enrolled the help of the super sachems.
The celebrity: Jackie Kennedy.
The experts: leading fashion columnists, editors, store presidents and designers.
The question: “What is the Jackie Kennedy Look?”
Can you recognize at once what constitutes the Jackie Kennedy Look?
I expected each of them to give me the short, superior laugh, and then the one crystalloid reply which would clear my smogged brain and cause me to pound my forehead with my fist, exclaiming: “That’s it!”
How could I fail to recognize at once what constitutes the Jackie Kennedy Look? How sinfully stupid of me! After all, I had seen her on a million film-fan-fiction covers, in zillions of newspaper shots, in trillions of magazine articles.
The answers did not quite work out that way.
Oh. sure, the beginning of each interview went according to plan. I would ask the question, “What is the Jackie Kennedy Look? Could you tell me please?” and then they would give me that “silly question” whinny.
But from then on, the answers led me down the old muddy road of indecision.
MORE: When JFK & Jackie got married: The elegant Bouvier-Kennedy wedding (1953)
What is the gist of The Jackie Kennedy Look?
You see, each expert had his own opinion about the one thing that was (“Obviously, my dear boy!”) the gist of the Jackie Look.
Columnist A: “She brought color to coats.”
Columnist B: “She introduced the white coat.”
Fashion photographer: “She never wears furs.”
Fur designer: “She adores fur coats.”
Editor: “It’s those low-heeled shoes.”
Shoe designer: “She often wears fairly high heels.”
Editor: “She is completely avant-garde.”
Buyer: “She is never too avant-garde.”
Designer A: “She adores American clothes.”
Designer B: “She adores French clothes.”
Hairdresser A: “Her hair is always a bit windblown.”
Hairdresser B: “She is always impeccably groomed.”
They went on like that until I got digital cramps noting the dozens of things that were supposed to be The Look. I was getting nowhere at all so I decided to try the old saw about the “one picture being worth and all that.
Here are the results:
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Jackie Kennedy & her fashion: Cover girl
Cosmopolitan magazine cover headlines (May 1967)
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The Saturday Evening Post (March 11, 1967)
The national sport of watching Jackie Kennedy
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