Jacqueline Kennedy Archive, Featuring Oleg Cassini Owned Dress Originally Designed for First Lady, Vintage Couture Sketches, and More!
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This fascinating lot is comprised of: an Oleg Cassini designed replica of a gown originally made for Jackie Kennedy as First Lady; a French fashion magazine page annotated by Kennedy; a typed clerical copy of a letter to Cassini's studio signed in print "J.K."; an original Oleg Cassini, Inc. pencil drawing for a "Mrs. Kennedy" design signed by Joseph Boccheir; two Jackie-era sketches, including a collection chart with fabric samples; two vintage magazine and newspaper clippings; and three photographs including one framed. Provenance: From the personal property of the Estate of Oleg Cassini. Ex-Doyle's Auction, June 27, 2019.
The 11-piece Jackie Kennedy/Oleg Cassini lot includes:
1. Oleg Cassini designed replica of a gown originally made for and worn by Jackie Kennedy at the September 19, 1961 White House dinner in honor of President Dr.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. (Two photos retrieved from the online digital collection of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum show Jackie sporting the striking two-toned Cassini gown. These photos correspond to KN-C18874 and KN-C18877 respectively.)
The replica gown, produced under the "Black Tie Oleg Cassini" label, is a size 8 and features the same design of Jackie Kennedy's original dress, but was made from synthetic materials (the bodice is 65% acetate and 35% rayon while the skirt is 100% polyester.) The sleeveless black bodice seamlessly transitions into a columnar skirt. At back, a 23" high slit in the skirt allows ease of movement. Comes with a removable mustard yellow 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 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 this dress, 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.]
2. A French fashion magazine tear-out with a note inscribed by Jackie as "afternoon + Theatre" stapled at lower left. Jackie evidently admired this article of clothing, a Guy Laroche designed wool coat. Uneven edge where torn, and light paperclip impressions, else very good to near fine. 9.375" x 12.625".
3. 1p letter typed by Kay McGowan, Oleg Cassini's secretary, transcribing Jackie's handwritten instructions to Cassini (not included here) regarding her wardrobe choices. Signed in print "J.K.", the letter reads in part: "Enclosed is a white suit Oleg said he could do…in the same material as my yellow one last Spring…Important is the very tight set-in sleeve. A black jet sleeveless blouse might be pretty with it…" Expected folds.
4. Original Cassini Studio pencil sketch of two-piece yellow suit designed for "Mrs Kennedy" and hand-drawn by Joseph Boccheir, Design Coordinator for Oleg Cassini, Inc. On watermarked off-white paper.
5. A remarkable Jackie-era Cassini Studio collection chart of sixteen sketches, all numbered, most annotated, and a few with original fabric swatches carefully pinned to the designs. Cream stock card measures 8.375" x 13.875".
6. Jackie-era Cassini Studio pencil sketch (possibly Oleg Cassini) depicting a dress with a scoop neckline and cinched waist with bow. Uneven toning and chipped edges, else very good.
7. Vintage fashion magazine tear-out of an Empire style Patou designed evening gown, likely earmarked for Jackie.
8. Page saved from May 1, 1961 issue of "Women's Wear Daily" entitled "The Sisters" and pencil inscribed "Cassini Coat on Lee" at center. Featuring ten inset views of Jackie and younger sister Princess Lee Radziwill (1933-2019). Expected wear including toning. 11.75" x 17".
9. Photographic print of Jackie dressed in her original Cassini dress at the September 19, 1961 White House dinner, matted and framed behind glass. Not examined out of frame. Overall framed size 15" x 15.75" x 1".
10. Photographic print of a Jackie-era Oleg Cassini design for a suit on glossy photo paper.
11. Photographic print of Oleg Cassini at left standing with friends in front of a luxury sports car, ca. 1970s.
Oleg Cassini (1913-2006) 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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