July 20, 2019 | 85° F

The Queen of Camelot: Jacqueline Kennedy


Courtesy of amency.net

Jacqueline Kennedy, the wife of President John F. Kennedy. Eventually known as Jackie O. due to her second marriage to Greek shipping heir Aristotle Onassis, Jackie was once the most photographed woman in the world. The influence she had on the fashion world was staggering.

The Kennedys were America's royal family: JFK's term in office was known as "Camelot" (also a knowing reference to the popular 1960s musical of the same name). Jacqueline Kennedy was unlike any other first lady the White House had seen at the time; she was young, beautiful, well-educated, sophisticated and fashionable. She was, in a sense, a queen.

Jackie's regal style was, perhaps, an expression of her fascination with European royalty. Jackie was interested in Marie Antoinette and the Hapsburg monarchs; there was something about the duties royal figures hold in regard to great empires intrigued. Jackie particularly also loved Margaret Mitchell's best-selling novel Gone With the Wind - she may have imagined herself a modern-day version of the novel's heroine, Scarlett O'Hara.

Jackie, of course, had a more subtle presence than the brassy O'Hara. Jackie supported JFK, but through fashion she was able to make strong statements and declare that she was not entirely submissive. She was sometimes criticized for spending too much money and preferring Parisian clothes. Jackie, though, would not be deterred. When she went to England on a state visit with JFK, she dressed in an elegant white satin gown and wore diamonds in her hair resembling a tiara to be received by Queen Elizabeth II at a palace dinner - she was a first lady to be reckoned with.

People who knew Jackie well referred to her as an 18th-century woman: She was a feature of the old world recreated to fit in the new. Jacqueline Kennedy was still accessible, relatable and she turned the White House into her own royal court. Her tasteful and poised style signatures, including tweed suits, pillbox hats, trench coats, oversize sunglasses and breezy trousers, have since been copied by millions of women around the world.




Maggie Blaha Staff Writer

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