Jackie Kennedy

In the early sixties, Jackie Kennedy as the President’s young wife dressed in a look that was both fresh and conservative. It was an adult version of the youthful style of the time. The basic features of her look were soon copied thousands of times over. Now the look and the images of Jackie are instantly recognisable. Straight lines, loosely cut, smart dresses and coats. The sleeveless shift dress always featured usually with a matching jacket or coat.

For her formal daytime ensembles, she took a leaf from Britain’s royal dressmakers and their clients, avoiding prints and instead using brilliant solid colours and bold lines that helped her to be easily distinguished in a crowd. Her majestic, strong-silhouetted evening gowns, meanwhile, showcased her statuesque figure, and married French grandeur to a thoroughly American breeziness.

Jackie Kennedy’s style was carefully planned and thought through, and came at enormous expense. Each outfit was painstakingly choreographed by her staff and with the fashion designer Oleg Cassini. Though her clothes were created in America they were more often than not inspired by Paris, for example Chanel and Dior. It was Oleg Cassini who came up with the little hat that sat on the back of the head. This pillbox hat so modern and while low key, it also looked like a crown – and Jackie a Queen.

During the Onassis years, a jet-set glamour crept in as she shielded herself from the paparazzi gaze behind her trademark bug-eyed sunglasses. Her style became sportier and she wore darker colours.
Newly wealthy she spent fortunes on jewels, gowns and sleek day clothes, often by her friend Valentino.

As an esteemed literary editor in the seventies, she dressed the part in a working-woman wardrobe that was practical yet faultlessly stylish. Jackie Kennedy was such a style icon that her name became a code word for a complete lifestyle.

Jackie Kennedy