She’s most famous for her first lady fashion, but Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who would have turned 80 on Tuesday, was just as stylish from the time she left Washington until she passed away on May 19, 1994 at age 65.
Her New York Times obituary notes that the new First Lady brought class and charm to the Kennedy presidency, with “the whispering, intimate quality of her voice … the bouffant hair and formal smile for the Rose Garden and the barefoot romp with her children on a Cape Cod beach. Known for her immaculate style, Jacqueline Kennedy has been admired by women around the world, not only since her first years in the White House, but also now, many years after her death. Jackie’s A-line dresses, clean suits, pillbox hats and elegant jewelry gave her the status of a world-renowned fashion icon.
As a young widow, she protected the late President Kennedy’s reputation from critics and her children from the prying eyes of the press. She went on to marry a wealthy shipping mogul and raised her children abroad. After her second husband’s death, Jackie moved back to New York and lived the rest of her days quietly among the literati as a book editor.
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, daughter of Janet Lee and John “Black Jack” Bouvier, a handsome stockbroker, was born on July 28, 1929, in Southampton, N.Y. Jackie had one younger sister, Caroline Lee. While attending George Washington University, Jacqueline Bouvier studied abroad in France, strengthening her love for art, literature and fashion. After college, she worked as a photographer/reporter. She met John F. Kennedy, the capital’s most eligible bachelor in 1951, and after a quiet two-year courtship, married him. Jacqueline Bouvier and then Congressman John Kennedy were married on September 12, 1953, at Newport, Rhode Island. The wedding was considered the social event of the season with an estimated 700 guests at the ceremony and 900 at the lavish reception that followed at Hammersmith Farm. Her wedding dress was created by the African-American designer, Ann Lowe of New York City.The dress is now housed in the Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts.
Mrs. Kennedy gave birth to daughter Caroline in 1957 and son John Jr. in 1960. In 1961, Senator John F. Kennedy became president and with Jackie by his side they coined the term “Camelot.” On November 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy was assassinated while waving to crowds from an open car in Dallas, Texas. That day, Lady Bird Johnson wrote in her diary, “You always think of someone like her as being insulated, protected. She was quite alone. I don’t think I ever saw someone so much alone in my life.” At the funeral, the new First Lady admired the former’s strength. “Maybe it was a combination of great breeding, great discipline, great character. I only know it was great.”
In a move that shocked the public, Jackie married Aristotle Onassis, a wealthy Greek shipping magnate, in 1972. Afraid for the safety of her children, the family relocated to Greece and remained there until Onassis passed away in 1975.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis returned to New York City and worked as a book editor for 18 years. In the mid-eighties, she and Maurice Templesman, a financier from Belgium and an acquaintance of JFK, became companions and eventually lived together on Fifth Avenue until her death from cancer on May 19, 1994. Days before she died, Jackie returned home, believing further treatment was pointless. John Kennedy Jr. said, “She did it in her own way and in her own terms.”
It is now possible to carry a small bit of Jackie’s style in your daily fashion. The Jackie Kennedy Jewelry Collection made available by Camrose and Kross, provides a wide variety of Jackie’s jewelry replicas, ranging from bracelets to earring, from necklaces to rings. Despite the fact that Jacqueline was known for her expensive, European tastes, The Jackie Kennedy Jewelry Collection makes their jewelry affordable, as well as elegant. You can now dress as Jackie did on her wedding day, when she met with dignitaries, or simply enjoyed a night at home with her family.