Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Jackie Kennedy Double Vision! (1961)

Good morning!

I was flipping through Life magazine yesterday looking for more vintage clip art for the wedding website, when my attention was arrested by this...curious...image:

Sir! Unhand our First Family! What are you doing?!

The caption reassured me that the workmen in paint spattered clothes, cigarette dangling insouciantly from the left one's mouth, were actually totally in the clear-- they're installing these mannequins (phew!) in a display (double phew!) for a department store window. This issue and the window dressing displayed in it coincided with the January 1961 inaguration of John F. Kennedy as our nation's 35th president. Months earlier, from the time of the Wisconsin primary, matrons and collegiate girls alike had started to warm to the elegant simplicity of the future first lady's style. The former Jacqueline Bouvier, doe-eyed, pill-box-hatted, bouffant haired, was the living definition of effortless chic, and apparently, lookalikes began to crop up all over the nation over which her husband held dominion!

Here are some sketches by designer-to-the-stars Oleg Cassini (who romanced Grace Kelly and married Gene Tierney, dressing both women and Jackie to boot!):

Swoooooon...however au courant this was in 1961, each Cassini design STILL looks like "good taste" itself in year of our Lord 2013. I think the coat on the left is my favorite, and visions of the easter-egg pastels and the silks and wools of the finished product are dancing like sugarplums through my head right now. Compared to the grown-up little girl fussiness of former first lady Mamie Eisenhower's wardrobe (see her Barbie princess inagural gown here...the dress I love, but wasn't it a little too young for her?), what a chic and modern breath of fresh air Jackie's clothes must have been. I told you last week I have EXACTLY the wrong shape of body for the sheath dresses and up-and-down skirt suits of quintessential Jackie-style, but LEMME AT some of those A-line numbers. I'll make you proud, JBK!

Above, a quartet of fashion models who found themselves in high demand due to their resemblance to Mrs. Kennedy. I remember an article in a 70's issue of Esquire, in their annual "Dubious Achievements" awards issue, that harped again and again about how far apart her eyes are atop those famous wide cheekbones. Do you know it had never occurred to me before! One of the first things I noticed about Matthew is how he shares a similar facial structure to the first lady, impishly handsome with far-apart hazel eyes (*). Isn't it funny to think these brown haired, brown-eyed beauties with slightly irregular features and boyish, slim hipped figures would have probably been overlooked for the more bombshell Marilyn or Kim Novak type just a few years earlier? Slim was always in, but the idiosyncratic looks of  the First Lady no doubt sent ripples through the fashion world. Doll like Dovima, redhead Suzy Parker and wispy blonde Lisa Fonssagrives move over! There's a new brunette in town! 

Here's a couple pretenders-to-the-throne...notice the different ways they interpret "Jackie style":

One of my favorite parts of the article had to do with recreating the Jackie look on a budget. Check out how these two girls manage to put together Jackie-esque ensembles on even a limited budget!

I thought this was a really good deal until I inflation calculated $68.68...that's $519.96 in 2012 money! Thinking of how classic both the coat and the suit are, and how you could mix and match the pieces with different blouses or different skirts, however, I guess you could get a little more mileage out of this than an one-off outfit.

More Jackie acolytes, including two high school girls (!!) at right:

So! What do you think of the Jackie-lookalike mania? Have you ever had a burning desire to copy a celebrity or famous figure's look head-to-toe? What was your success (or failure) like? Let's talk!You can read the whole article here.

Have a great Tuesday! See you back here tomorrow. Til then!

* I mentioned this before, but I'll mention it again....NOTE THE RESEMBLANCE. Maybe we'll have Jackie Kennedy looking kids one day!


  1. Oh my gosh, Matthew DOES look like her! That's hilarious and I'm jealous of him.

  2. Haha, I loved putting the pictures side by side as I was doing this post, like, "I KNEW I WASN'T CRAZY!"



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