JACQUELINE KENNEDY, HISTORIC CONVERSATIONS: THE FOURTH CONVERSATION V
Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today JFK+50 continues our report on the fourth conversation from "Jacqueline Kennedy, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy", published by Hyperion.
The fourth conversation was recorded on March 23, 1964.
Arthur Schlesinger says:
"(The President) was so proud of the knowledge (about furniture & paintings) that he got from you."
Jacqueline Kennedy responds:
"(Jack) got into sculpture & then really knew his field. He'd pick out the best things.
He just had taste in every facet of his character--for people, for books, for sculptures, for furniture, for rooms, for houses.
He bought our house in Georgetown because the door knob was old & he liked the sort of old look of it."
Then, Mrs. Kennedy tells how the President picked out an Alexandrian bracelet as a gift for her.
"(The bracelet) is terribly simple, gold, sort of a snake. I could see how he loved it. He'd just hold it in his hand."*
*A copyrighted photograph of the bracelet is available at the JFK Library website.
Mr. Schlesinger then asks about the 1st day at the White House.
"(I) was just laid out in the Queen's bed & (Dr. Travell) had my leg up in the air to try to get some kink out of it. I just couldn't walk."
She says that suddenly the door to her bedroom burst open & "Jack & poor President Truman, who just turned scarlet, came in."
Mrs. Kennedy says she doesn't believe the former President had ever seen any other woman besides his wife (Bess) in a nightgown before.
Truman Library Photo (1952)
Jackie Kennedy: First Lady Fashion Icon
When John F. Kennedy became president in 1961, it’s easy to see why this young president and his wife possessed the American consciousness. While Jackie Kennedy had beauty, charm and popularity, she also had a fashion sense that influenced the country’s culture.
Jackie’s elegance was emphasized through simplicity rather than being overly fancy. Many of her style choices consisted of clean suits with a skirt hem that went to her knees; a preference for Chanel jackets; sleeveless A-line dresses as well as A-line skirts; pumps; solid color schemes; and, of course, her iconic pillbox hats. Fashion choices such as these quickly became a standard referred to as the “Jackie Kennedy” look.
During her time in the White House, Jackie retained Kennedy family friend and fashion designer Oleg Cassini to create an original wardrobe. She also wore other labels such as Chanel, Christian Dior and Givenchy. In her first year as first lady, she spent $45,000 more than her husband’s $100,000 yearly salary.
One of her most well-known outfits is the pink Chanel suit and matching pillbox hat that she wore when her husband was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. She continued to wear the suit even hours after the incident and it became a symbol of one America’s greatest tragedies. Her outfit has been recreated and referenced numerous times in American pop culture throughout the past half-century.
Overall, Jackie and her fashion sense had a huge impact on American culture, even into present times. Before her influence, designer fashion was centered on Europe with French designers setting trends. Jackie became a prominent American trendsetter as well as a cultural icon. Out of all the previous first ladies, her style was copied and reproduced the most by commercial manufacturers for the public.
“Savvy Women’s Magazine (2008)