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).
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?)
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
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
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)