Oleg Cassini and the Jackie Look
By: Linnea Crowther
9 months ago
On March 17, 2006, the world lost a fashion icon – celebrated designer Oleg Cassini died at 92. For decades he dressed the top Hollywood stars, from Marilyn Monroe to Renee Zellweger, Natalie Wood to Taylor Swift.
But he was best known for his creations for one of the 20th century's greatest style icons, Jackie Kennedy.
First Lady Jackie Kennedy, in red wool suit and beret designed by Oleg Cassini, on a trip to Canada in 1961.
When the Kennedys moved into the White House in 1961, the First Lady appointed Cassini as her exclusive couturier. The "Secretary of Style," as Cassini became known, made an immediate splash with the dress he designed for the inaugural ball. Later named one of the "50 Dresses that Changed the World," the dress ushered in an era of breathless admiration – and frequent copying – of Cassini's designs for Kennedy.
Jacqueline Kennedy lifts the skirt of her ivory double-faced silk satin twill inaugural ball gown, designed by Oleg Cassini, as she and her husband, President-elect John F. Kennedy, leave their Georgetown home in the snowfall en route to the inaugural concert in Washington, D.C., Jan. 19, 1961.
Kennedy loved Cassini's work, both complimenting him and relying heavily on him. As Cassini once reminisced, "All I remember about those days are nerves, and Jackie on the phone 'Hurry, hurry, Oleg, I’ve got nothing to wear.'" He always came through, dressing her as what he described as an "American queen."
First lady Jacqueline Kennedy tours the Palace of the Maharajah in Udaipur, India, wearing an apricot silk ziberline dress by Oleg Cassini during a state visit to India in 1962.
The clean lines, gorgeous fabrics, and timeless silhouettes of Oleg Cassini's "Jackie Look" have transcended fashion trends – and they're still stunning today.
Visitors to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art look at an Oleg Cassini suit in pale yellow silk and wool, and a Halston hat in natural straw previously worn by Jacqueline Kennedy in 1961, during a press preview of the exhibit "Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years, Selections From the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum." A photograph of Jacqueline Kennedy wearing the suit at a luncheon with France's President and Mme. Charles de Gaulle is displayed at right.
Jacqueline Kennedy during her official visit to Paris 1961 , Jackie wearing Alaskine (wool and silk) created by Oleg Cassini, pillbox hat created by Roy Halston Frowick.