First Ladies Part I: Jackie O

Introduction This little series, titled the First Ladies, is  composed of Part I Jackie O and Part II Lady Bird Johnson. Both fashion icons of the 60’s and both influential in the White House. What prompted said series? Well I’ll tell you! A weekend getaway to see my bright and sunny Aunt Teresa in DC produced this unexpected muse. I’m not going to lie, DC isn’t necessarily the first place I would go to look for fashion inspiration, there is a lot of black .Yes, black, black suits and flowing black and gray blouses tucked into black pencil skirts with low pointy heels. One giant mass of black figures power walking and pushing past you like the world may come to an end if they don’t get to Starbucks on 7th and Maryland in the next 30 seconds. So dear reader that is why I was so entranced by The First Ladies Exhibit in the Museum of US History. Like an oasis in the desert, was this exhibit to my tastes. Dress after dress, decade after decade of lovely ladies wearing the days’ finest in fashionable and leisurely evening attire.


Part 1, Jackie O Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis known for her elegant and simplistic take on fashion with a touch of Paris here and there. Below you will see the dress and her pearls on display at US History Museum in DC. This silk dress, designed by Oleg Cassini and worn by the lady  to the first State Dinner of the Kennedy administration (1961). First Ladies Exhibit Jackie's Dress


The inspiration to this 60’s fashion icon? Well I thought you would never ask!

She started reading and writing about fashion from a young age it appears, here’s an excerpt from her high school years:

In 1951, she submitted an entry to Vogue magazine’s Prix de Paris contest, the prize for which was to spend half a year in New York, and the other half in Paris as a junior editor for the magazine. The submission was rigorous, requiring an original theme for an entire issue, illustrations, articles, layout and design, an advertising campaign that could be tied into the issue’s content. In the requisite essay, “People I Wish I Had Known,” she listed playwright Oscar Wilde, poet Charles Baudelaire and ballet impresario Serge Diaghilev. Named one of the twelve finalists, she was then interviewed by the magazine editors and out of 1,280 entries she won the contest. Her mother, however, did not want her to leave the U.S. and made her turn down the prize.

(From National First Ladies Library http://www.firstladies.org/biographies/firstladies.aspx?biography=36) Photos from childhood. (Don’t you think she kinda looks like Suri Cruise? Like in the eyes?) Childhood


Other influences were found abroad.

Upon returning from studying abroad during college in Paris France.

“I loved it more than any year of my life. Being away from home gave me a chance to look at myself with a jaundiced eye. I learned not to be ashamed of a real hunger for knowledge, something I had always tried to hide, and I came home glad to start in here again but with a love for Europe that I am afraid will never leave me.” -Jackie Kennedy

Budding Fashionista

As first lady, Mrs. Kennedy also traveled to Italy, India, and Pakistan. Her interest in other cultures and her ability to speak several foreign languages, including French, Spanish, and Italian, brought her good will and admiration around the world. From the Presidential Library and Museum http://www.jfklibrary.org/JFK/Life-of-Jacqueline-B-Kennedy.aspx?p=2

Apricot Silk Designer: Oleg Cassini (American, b. France, 1913-2006) Place made: USA Material: Silk ziberline Date Made: 1962 Sleeveless apricot colored, knee length dress with a slight V neckline.  This dress is gathered at waist which is accented with a bow, the skirt is an A-line. The dress is accompanied by a matching boxy coat with 3/4 sleeves, a plain front and one button at the collar. For a daytime boat ride on Lake Pichola, in Udaipur, India on March 17, 1962, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy wore this dress and matching coat of such elegant formailty that they would not have been out of place at a fashionable cocktail party. However, the fabric was rigid enough to keep its composure in the heat of India. Its dazzling color (appropiate to the intended setting) and sheen were calculated to ensure that she would be instantly identifiable to the crowds on the distant shore as they watched her barge on its way to the maharana of Udaipur’s White Palace, where she was feted that evening. (Above from http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/f2k6CQ8f9UCHVvH85LVKYA.aspx)


More reading:

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Hepburn & Givenchy : inspiration and art

Red Coat

AUDREY HEPBURN AND HUBERT DE GIVENCHY
With a friendship that spanned 40 years, Givenchy first met Audrey Hepburn when he dressed her for Sabrina in 1953. After that he designed the clothes for her in Funny Face and the famous little black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Definitely a fashion friendship with benefits. (H&M Life) http://www.hm.com/us/life/fashion/the-hit-list/2014/06/the-10-coolest-designer-muses

My love affair with 1960’s  fashion would have to have begun with Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Audrey Hepburn and Givenchy. This red wool coat! High collar, large mod buttons and three quarter length sleeves. It doesn’t even matter what she is wearing under it, the coat is all that matters and it’s fab darling!

Another favorite is the coat from Charade with Cary Grant. This one in yellow same use of large buttons wide collar, but the angles are more geometric. I like how Givenchy uses the three quart sleeve and vertical lines of the seams to elongate Audrey’s torso. It’s lovely just like the muse herself.

Charade

 

Silhouette

My roommate had some gold leaf frames sitting in a box by his door, as a flight of whimsy I pulled one from the box and he snapped this photo.

Reminded of those black and white silhouettes my mom had made for me and my sis in California’s Disneyland. I started this post, the paper was yellowed from age the last time I saw them, our hair in bowl cuts, long lashes stretching over noses and a swirling script to make an oval frame. Where are those now I wonder, the top of a closet in a box, tucked between books 11 and 12 of the Encyclopedia Britannica?

DisneyShadowA

The word Silhouette is just as romantic as the thing itself. It sounds like it comes from a bygone era. A way of cherishing those who are far off fighting some war or living on a distant continent. It’s the French I believe , the mouth pursing the “oo” vowels and flicking the front teeth for the hard “t” sound to top off the end.

Pronunciation by the fab femme fatale Lori: 

“Silhouette” is actually an eponymous term, named after Étienne de Silhouette. a French finance minister, who, in 1759, was forced by France’s credit crisis  impose severe economic demands upon the French people, particularly the wealthy. … prior to his ousting he found favor with Madame de Pompadour, mistress of King Louis XV  and most notable made a hobby of cutting paper profiles that he reputedly used as cheap interior decorations. (Thank you Massachusetts Historical Society and of courses Wikipedia)

 


They’re still making silhouette portraits in Disneyland if you should happen to be there:

http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2010/08/a-cut-above-the-rest/

 

 

 

Vintage Punk Photos NYC from Mother Jones

 

http://www.motherjones.com/media/2014/07/new-york-punk-photos-playground-white-trash-uncut

David Johansen of the New York Dolls and Richard Hell of Television backstage at CBGB

13david-johansen-and-richard-hell_0

 

Debbie Harry (Blondie) at Max’s. (1975)

4Debbie-Harry-Blondie

These from two books Playground and White Trash for sale at:  http://glitteratiincorporated.com/collections/newtitles/products/playground-growing-up-in-the-new-york-underground-by-paul-zone

bookcovers

Mods vs Rockers 1964 England

Yes I know reader, I hinted at a post on Sophia Lauren but I was so delightfully distracted by this article in September 16, 1964 TIME Magazine that I just had to write about it. The violent clashes on beaches and in cities between the glamorous Mods and the bada$$ Rockers was just too tantalizing to pass up!

These were literally “Style Wars” , young Brits who preferred different clothes, music and ways of getting around fight for…well who knows but man are they angry…and well dressed.

Page 1Kenmore Toilets

(“Honey those Kenmore toilets are so hot!)

This could have a parallel style “war” (less violent) with teens today,  Hipsters vs Punks. The Punks just like the Rockers are fewer in number, have ties to music that is somewhat passé and prefer it a little on the rough side, leather clothing , black jackets and such. Depending on the punk affiliation,  chauvinism,  if it could be called that would be lesser? I mean one of the photos shows “A Rocker, His Bike and Bird”, I don’t know about you ladies, first of all I don’t want to be named third after the bike and second being someone’s bird doesn’t really ring any bells for me….I’m probably a Mod then…

Rocker Bike and Bird

 

The Mods are like  hipsters, I guess . Some spend copious amounts of money on clothing and other fashion goods as well as riding a scooter…really? Does that even need to be refuted, Lawd! Owning a Vespa is so hipster there’s a private party for it and nobody knows when or where it is 😉

Mod Style

I love this quote:

“Most Mods, who knock themselves out to be conformists, would prefer to think of themselves as individualist” !

If that doesn’t scream hipster I don’t know what does…Urban Outfitters anyone? …he he he you looove it when I make fun of hipsters, just eating this stuff up I’m sure  😉

Page 2

Old FosterMod and his scooter

So I leave you to decide Mod or Rocker, maybe a little of both.


Here’s some BBC Awesome for ya:

 

Simply Irresistible!

The 80’s are truly a guilty pleasure of mine and the fashion was a world unto it’s own. Socks with heels, frizzed out hair and lots of eye makeup. So when I randomly get one of the top 40 songs of the 80’s stuck in my head I look up the music video just for kicks ( I think somewhere I heard that if you get a song stuck in your head you should listen to it and then it will magically exit like a unicorn barfing rainbows or something, let me tell ya, it doesn’t work) Today at work I got Simply Irresistible by Robert Palmer stuck in my head, thanks Dave! Really thank you 😉 I dutifully watched the cheese a$$ video, smiled when I saw the girls dancing and over done makeup and thought well that was nice. And low and behold a video ad caught my eye. ZZ Top Legs. I used to wear fold over socks with lace trim all the time in the 80’s. So I clicked on it, and boy was I in for a treat. This was my first time ever seeing ZZ Top. I know, I know , “what? did you live in a cave????” , my response “No, as a matter of fact I didn’t, I just wasn’t exposed to things normal kids were ok! Like, music videos, Mario Brothers and Coco Puff cereal”. ZZ Top is blowing my mind right now! Those beards! What is this Duck Dynasty with fur guitars?! Ahahahahaha! and the “story line” of the video. zztoplegs   Gandalf hijacked fairy godmother granting wishes for clerks and food service workers to be cool. What in the world? It’s a recommended watch. I also take it that legs and not boobs were more important for hetero female sexiness. Just say’n there’s a lot of legs in this video if you didn’t already get that from the title..LEGS. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUDcTLaWJuo Then I found this one, of which the narrator could use some tuning , but the content is hilarious, it was a flash back . My favorite line “Was Micheal Jackson the only person who could dance in the 80’s? Seriously!” she’s cracking me up. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImcKOeRN6u4

Summer Fun and 1960’s Movies!

The long hot summers of my childhood presented themselves with multiple opportunities for indoor activities. It’s like a Wisconsin winter but death by desiccation. Arizona desert cabin fever.Nike of Samothrace My sister and I would get creative. Sometimes yards of pastel tulle were pulled from a cedar chest where we would strip down to our skivvies and wrap and wrap and wrap ourselves into elegant gowns like the winged statues we studied. The effect was complete much to our poor mother’s chagrin, we balanced on one foot atop various pieces of furniture limps stretched out and a fan to give an affect of mid flight to our figures! Much more to the liking of our dear mother, there were other less “artistic” summer amusements, and these were in the form of cinema, or otherwise known as Disney Classics. The video cassette that got the most wear and tear would have to be the 1961 version of The Parent Trap. Parent Trap Movie Poster Rewatching this movie produced a variety of outcomes. 1) The marionettes at the begging are so sweet and so delightful! They feed my already flippant arguments against CGI  just doesn’t look good. Real time filming looks and feels like the human experience, as though I could reach out and touch it (I apologize I will stop here before my soap box gives way 😉 The Adorable Credits Are these not the most adorable things you have ever seen! The Cherubs! the rotund little figures! AND you can see the shadows they make on the fabric back drops! This is soo 60’s just like the marionettes were in the Sound of Music! Those goats were pretty darn cute! 2)No wonder I love 60’s fashion! It’s all here! Maureen O’Hara is not only a phenomenal actor (her expressions of shock and excitement when she first shows up on the California Ranch! Priceless) but it’s the dress and vibrant red hair make it like a bouquet of color.Parent Trap dresses 3) From an art/film perspective, how they transition from Boston to California is interesting, east coast to west coast. Everything in Boston is stiff. 1950’s skirt suits with formal high collars and tight french twist hair. Then California is all fired up and fancy free. On the lawn boston Dinner for two   There is a distinct look for O’Hara, the broad neckline that accentuates her collar bone and shoulders. She doesn’t wear a necklace(which is period unless a large string of pearls are in order) she has large earrings and at most times a brooch. The waist is cinched to show of her curves and she must have been a taller woman because the dresses are midi length and they look great, I’m partial to a full figured woman, probably because one looks back at me from the mirror daily 😀 . Looking at  photos of Maureen O’Hara entices me on another 1960’s venture, Sophia Lauren, bucksome and beautiful lady hmm…yes, that’s just what I very well may do, stay tuned!…

You’ve Got the Look!

How fabulous was Prince at the French Open early in June! I mean, seriously! the afro, the turtle neck, the solid lines and colors. His chiseled jaw outlined by …can one call it…? Yes, I think we can, perfection in facial hair ! Those Eyes! Prince you are beautifully masculine, composed and you are as porcelain smooth as an Irish stout on a cool summer’s evening. You’ve got the look. Prince seated at 2014 French OpenWhy is this so fabulous, because 1) Prince is indisputably awesome 2) Funk is something that is extremely hard to pull off but done well…it’s glorious. Let’s break it down: The afro, the man has great hair, it is full and covers the ears in it’s perfect globus form. It highlights the length and dignity of the neck. Big hair looks great with a long neck. Prince wasn’t the first to rock the afro and turtle neck. Art Garfunkel was able to pull it off as well, yep definitely 7o’s fashion. Art Garfunkel 3 Prince nailed  sportswear at the French Open. Liz Claiborne coined the term women’s sportswear in the mid to late 70’s. Sure you hear Liz Claiborne and images of your Grandmother in tennis skirt and windbreaker pop up. But Liz was the s#!t in the 80’s long before watered down outlet malls destroyed any sense of  it’s former glory. Prince holds court at French Open 2014 Quarter-Final **USA ONLY** The turtle neck and solid knit blends with simple lines made her designs classic and lasting. Prince  rocks the look though the designer is not Liz ,the influence is evident. Here’s Liz in the 80’s wearing some of her own. Liz   TMZ went wild with Prince’s choice of accessories which I thought was playful and hilarious! Scepter — noun — a rod or wand borne in the hand as an emblem of regal or imperial power. Pimp Cane — noun — 1) An essential tool to the hardcore pimp, while a mere prop for softcore pimps. 2) The pimp cane usually is decorated with such things as a diamond or jewel on the top and gold everywhere else. So, knowing these facts … what would you call the thing Prince brought with him to the French Open this weekend??? Besides “awesome.” Yes, he sure did~!