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Oleg Cassini and the "Jackie Look"

Published: 4/11/2013
We remember one of the most celebrated fashion designers of the 20th century, on his 100th birthday. Originally published March 2012.

One hundred years ago today, a fashion icon was born – Oleg Cassini. The celebrated designer dressed top stars for decades, from Marilyn Monroe to Natalie Wood, Renee Zellweger 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 Jacqueline Kennedy, wearing a pink and white straw lace dress designed by Oleg Cassini and U.S. President John F. Kennedy leave the Quai D'Orsay ministry for the Elysee Palace reception during their official visit in Paris, France, in this May 31, 1961 photo. (AP Photo)
First lady Jacqueline Kennedy, wearing a pink and white straw lace dress designed by Oleg Cassini and U.S. President John F. Kennedy leave the Quai D'Orsay ministry for the Elysee Palace reception during their official visit in Paris, France, in this May 31, 1961 photo. AP Photo)


When the Kennedys moved into the White House in 1961, the First Lady appointed Cassini as her exclusive couturier, earning him the nickname "Secretary of Style." He made an immediate splash with the dress he designed for the inaugural ball. That dress was later named one of the "50 Dresses that Changed the World," and it 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. (AP Photo/File)
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. (AP Photo/File)


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, in his words, an American queen.

 First lady Jacqueline Kennedy, center, tours the Palace of the Maharajah in Udaipur, India, wearing an apricot silk ziberline dress by Oleg Cassini during a state visit to India on March 17, 1962. (AP Photo/John F. Kennedy Library and Museum)
First lady Jacqueline Kennedy, center, tours the Palace of the Maharajah in Udaipur, India, wearing an apricot silk ziberline dress by Oleg Cassini during a state visit to India on March 17, 1962. (AP Photo/John F. Kennedy Library and Museum)


The clean lines, gorgeous fabrics, and timeless silhouettes of Oleg Cassini's "Jackie Look" have transcended fashion trends – and they're still stunning today.

Written by Linnea Crowther

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