[Jacqueline Kennedy] Jacqueline Kennedy Archive, Featuring Oleg Cassini Owned Dress After Original First Lady Design, Vintage Couture Sketches & Period Fashion Magazine Pages
The perfect archive for a collector of First Lady memorabilia, or a sartorial enthusiast! Documenting the incredible artistic collaboration between Jacqueline Kennedy (1929-1994) and fashion designer Oleg Cassini (1913-2006).
This fascinating lot is comprised of: an Oleg Cassini designed replica in white of a gown originally made for Jackie Kennedy as First Lady; eight Jackie-era fashion sketches; a handwritten list of Cassini's preferred "Fabric Houses"; a December 1962 "Harper's Bazaar" magazine tear-out of containing a design idea for "Mrs Kennedy"; and twelve newspaper and magazine clippings exploring Cassini press coverage from the period. Provenance: From the personal property of the Estate of Oleg Cassini. Ex-Doyle's Auction, .
The Jackie Kennedy/Oleg Cassini lot exceeds 20 pieces, and includes:
- Oleg Cassini's own designed retained example of a gown originally made for and worn by Jackie Kennedy at the September 19, 1961 White House dinner in honor of President Dr. Manuel Prado Ugarteche and First Lady Clorinda Málaga de Prado of Peru. On that occasion, Jackie Kennedy wore the floor-length mustard yellow and black evening dress with a pair of white gloves. A photo retrieved from the online digital collection of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum (Accession number KN-C18874) shows Jackie sporting the striking two-toned Cassini gown.
Cassini's replica gown is a white version of Jackie's gold and black original, produced under the "Black Tie Oleg Cassini" label. A size 8, the sleeveless black bodice seamlessly transitions into a white columnar skirt. A 23" high slit in the skirt at back allows ease of movement. Comes with a removable white belt with large bow and fringed ribbons, 14" diameter. The couture label is located under the left armpit, while the material and special care instructions label is located at right. Dry clean only. Expected light wear including isolated scuffs, else near fine. The belt is in fair condition, with scattered stains and slightly glue-separating layers. The dress measures 58.5" long, with a 14" diameter waist and 17" wide bust.
In "A Thousand Days of Magic: Dressing Jacqueline Kennedy for the White House" (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1995), published the year after Jackie Kennedy's death, Cassini shared personal recollections of designing for the First Lady, as well as dozens of letters, sketches, and photos documenting his designs. Of the original dress that this white version was based upon, Cassini wrote: "…one of my favorite color combinations--jet black contrasted with vivid Tintoretto mustard-gold. The sleeveless tank top in jet silk was tied at the waist with the mustard-gold satin of the bell-shaped skirt with a signature bow fringed at the end." [Oleg Cassini, "A Thousand Days of Magic", p. 82.]
- Eight Jackie-era Cassini Studio fashion sketches, some almost certainly in Cassini's hand, on six sheets of cream sketch paper (two pieces are double-sided). The designs for two-piece suits, evening dresses, and overcoats are scattered with technical notes such as "Bias wool crèpe". The sketches are in pencil, and one has been highlighted with red marker. Isolated light corner folds and chipped edges, else very good to near fine. Average size of sheet: 9" x 12".
- A handwritten list of Oleg Cassini's preferred "Fabric Houses" with notes on different materials and price.
- A tear-out from the December 1962 issue of "Harper's Bazaar" magazine inscribed "Mrs Kennedy idea" at upper left. The Doro satin, sequin, and rhinestone cardigan was earmarked for First Lady Jackie Kennedy.
- Twelve English, French, and Italian newspaper and magazine articles, displays, and advertisements, ca. 1961-1962, mostly related to press coverage of mid-century fashion industry icons Oleg Cassini, First Lady Jackie Kennedy, and others. Several articles are trimmed and annotated in pen or pencil. Expected wear including toning, isolated chipped edges, and scattered holes, else very good.
Representative headlines of articles include:
- "Oleg Cassini out? That's what fashion gossips predict About First Lady's designer" ("Philadelphia Inquirer", March 21, 1961)
- "The Kennedy-Paris Controversy" ("Women's Wear Daily", June 2, 1961)
- "Evening Mode a la Cassini", ca. 1961
Oleg Cassini designed 300 outfits for First Lady Jackie Kennedy between 1961-1963. Cassini was selected to become Jackie's exclusive fashion designer-- or "Secretary of Style"--because he had a concrete vision of what Jackie's clothing would look like, and more importantly, what it would represent. Her evening gowns, day wear, suits, coats, hats, and accessories would create a distinctive "Jackie look" that would mark the reign of the new "American Queen."
Cassini wrote: "Jackie reminded me of an ancient Egyptian princess--very geometric, even hieroglyphic, with the sphinx-like quality of her eyes, her long neck, slim torso, broad shoulders, narrow hips, and regal carriage…I wanted to dress her cleanly, architecturally, in style. I would use the most sumptuous fabrics in the purest interpretations…I was proposing a new look, a new concept, my interpretation of how Jaqueline Bouvier Kennedy should appear in her role as First Lady…[I] told her that she needed a story, a scenario as First Lady. " (Oleg Cassini, "A Thousand Days of Magic", p. 15-18)
Cassini's vision of Jackie coincided with her own, and the two successfully collaborated to set major worldwide fashion trends. In Jackie's wardrobe, you could find all the classic elements of 60s mod--A-line dresses in bright colors and bold patterns, strapless gowns with elbow-length gloves, tailored suits, fur-trimmed coats with oversized collars, buttons, and pockets, and of course, pillbox hats. Cassini envisioned entire ensembles, complete with clothing, hat, purse, and accessories.
Oleg Cassini was born in France of mixed Russian and Italian heritage. He became a fashion designer with Paramount Pictures after emigrating to the United States in 1936. During the heyday of his Hollywood career in the 1940s and 1950s, he dressed actresses Joan Crawford, Loretta Young, Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe, Janet Leigh, and Audrey Hepburn. Cassini, a friend of the Kennedy family and a frequent visitor to Palm Beach, first met Jackie in 1953. After his tenure as Jackie's fashion designer, Cassini continued designing for Broadway, television, and film, later establishing his own boutique and professional brand.
This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.
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