Jacqueline Kennedy, Style Icon

Even with Anna Wintour cooing over the current First Lady, politics were never as fashionable as when Jacqueline Kennedy was re-vamping the White House.  

Born Jacqueline Lee Bouvier in Southampton, New York, she was a member of society’s elite from a very young age.

She made her debut in 1947, and Igor Cassini, a popular Hearst columnist, declared her to be the debutante of the year.

After attending a number of colleges, she finally graduated from George Washington University with a degree in French literature, an education that would be useful during her time as First Lady.

She then took a position as Inquiring Photographer for The Washington Times-Herald.  This was a position that could easily be compared to the popular street style photographers of today, which played to Jackie’s charming and endearing personality.

After a brief marriage to a young stockbroker, she met and became engaged to the handsome young senator John Kennedy.

They were married in September of 1953, and Jackie wore an Ann Lowe dress that is now housed in the Kennedy Library in Boston. She became pregnant with their first child while John was on his presidential campaign, but due to complications with pregnancy in the past, Jackie took a backseat on the campaign.

She contributed by answering letters, giving interviews, and writing a syndicated weekly column called "Campaign Wife."

During her husband’s term, she was incredibly popular with foreign leaders and international dignitaries.

The couple’s youth and good looks contributed greatly to the their popularity with young voters, and had a great influence on popular culture.

In 1960, she commissioned family friend Oleg Cassini to design her an original wardrobe that would include many of her signature looks.

Clean silhouettes, A-line dresses and deco millinery became her trademarks, and the "Jackie look" took over mainstream fashion.

While Cassini created her staples, the First Lady also favored French designers Chanel, Givenchy, and Dior.

Her personal style wasn’t just an influence on the public’s wardrobes, but her major restoration of the White House also greatly influenced interior design. As her first major project while her husband was in office, Jackie took a lackluster and culturally devoid White House interior and transformed it, with the help of American designer Henry du Pont.

There is perhaps no ensemble from that era more iconic than the pink Chanel suit that Jackie was wearing the day of her husband’s assassination.

It became not only an emblem of fashion, but of political protest – she refused to remove it after the assassination, because she wanted the shooters to see the bloody effects of their actions.

After her time in the White House, her style became more relaxed, and privacy became her main concern. While her grieving period was drawn out, the dark sunglasses and headscarves she wore caught on like all of her other choice garments.

Privacy became such an issue that she went looking for a person to help her with the press and public life she had been forced to lead.

Following the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, Jackie feared for the lives of her children, and sought protection for them. In 1968, she married Aristotle Onassis, a shipping magnate who provided all that Jackie was looking for in her new life.

Her life continued to be public, and tragedy surrounded her with the death of Onassis’ only son in 1973. Onassis died in 1975, and Jackie spent her later years working as an editor, and preserving American culture through monuments, restorations, and historic preservations.

She died in 1994 of non-Hogkin’s lymphona, and left an estate valued at $43.7 Million.

Sotheby’s famously auctioned off her possessions, with some of the 1301 lots selling for over $1,000,00. The catalogue has become a collectible that showcases some of Jackie’s most admired jewels and artifacts.