Thursday, March 8, 2007

Fashionista: Cassini, Not Chanel

FASHION I wanted to touch on a topic that has always bothered me: Jacqueline Kennedy’s pink suit. The suit Jackie wore on the day of the assassination was NOT a Chanel suit. It was clearly a Cassini (note the overstated buttons, collar, and boxy cut on the jacket, not to mention his unmistakable pillbox cap). If you’re not familiar with the two designers and why this suit was clearly not Chanel, it should be apparent in the fact that Oleg Cassini dressed the first lady almost exclusively. Jacqueline Kennedy was to Cassini what Audrey Hepburn was to Givenchy. And, coincidentally, Cassini was quite inspired by Givenchy.

This leads me to an irritation of mine: How could anyone in their right mind use Liv Tyler as the face of Givenchy? I’m certainly not alone in idolizing Audrey Hepburn on many levels and I find it insulting that she should be replaced with a woman I find irritating, fairly talentless, and, in my opinion, mousy and unattractive. Audrey had more class in her pinky toenail than Liv Tyler could ever hope for.

I’ve seriously digressed from the topic at hand, however: back to Cassini. I think it’s interesting to note that Cassini studied initially to be an artist under de Chirico. De Chirico’s influence is clear in Cassini’s work. De Chirico’s work often draws from classical subjects such as Greek statues, placed in industrial-like settings. His work has a modern edge through the style of the artist’s articulate, clean brushwork, composition, and colour theory. The same could be said of Cassini’s designs. He also drew from classic inspirations to create modern works of elegance and simplicity. These pieces changed the face of fashion, and most prominently through the face of Jacqueline Kennedy.

It’s no coincidence that a man who was initially known for his costume design transformed the first lady into a starlet of sorts and the first major fashion icon in US politics. Jackie remained a fashion icon throughout her life and her choices are still influencing fashion today. Most notably in Michael Kors’ new line based on Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis and her sister Lee Radziwill. I hope his Bouvier inspired pieces turn out well (mainly because I’d like to buy some). I was really not a fan of Michael Kors when he first arrived in the fashion scene. He seemed conflicted: like Tommy Hilfiger posing as a Calvin Klein or an Armani. I also hated Celine, which I found flat out tacky in general. In the last few years I think he’s found his voice and he’s created many pieces I admire and covet. I just hope he doesn’t completely botch it up. I couldn’t bare to see another Liv Tyler posing as an Audrey Hepburn. (Lindsay Larkin)


  1. Actually, Jackie purchased that pink wool suit from her favorite New York designer "Chez Ninon," which made exact copies of many designer outfits. In 1961, the original CHANEL copy was pictured in Life magazine, which just happened to have Jackie on the cover.

  2. I stand corrected... and embarrassed as hell. Thank God not many people are reading my blog. So much for the resume, eh? ha! Thanks for the input.


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