Meet our newest and by far, most special contributor yet. Casey Cobb. Casey is not just my mother-in-law, she is like a soul-sister. We share so many passions, and her knowledge of all things classic is endless. I could listen to her talk for hours, hanging on every word. She exudes style, and well-read is an understatement. Needless to say, I was over-the-moon when she said she would contribute, and her first article is more than I could have ever hoped for. I know you are going to love it too! xx D
(About a 3-minute read)
If you look up the word “classic” in the dictionary, you will find the following...“Judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind.” So, what comes to mind? A great work of art, an exceptional piece of literature, a timeless couture gown? What if we were to apply that definition to a person, perhaps one woman? Who would be your choice? Ah, that’s a tough one, you say. Well, let me make it a little easier for you. I choose Jackie! Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was born on July 28, 1929 into a world of wealth and privilege. Much has been written about her stormy childhood and the acrimonious divorce of her parents. In spite of this, she managed to create a world of her own that included a love of history, art and literature. Her mother was quoted as saying, “I like to use the word 'original’ in describing Jacqueline. She had enormous individuality and sensitivity and a marvelous self-control.” How fitting a description for a woman who would, in her own original way, go on to change our world.
Perhaps your first glimpse of Jackie was when she stepped out of the White House on Inauguration Day, 1960 in that incredible fawn-colored coat with a peek of sable at the collar and matching pillbox hat, designed by Oleg Cassini. At that moment, I think we all knew we were in for quite a ride! I read once that Queen Elizabeth always chooses the color of her outfits very deliberately and carefully. She wants to be assured that, whenever she is seen in public, all eyes will be on her. Brilliant, no? On that frigid Washington morning, as her husband took the Oath of Office, while most of the women were bundled up in fur coats, there she was. All eyes were, indeed, on her. A Queen Elizabeth “moment” to be sure.
And let’s not forget the regal white satin gown she wore to the Inaugural Ball that night….also designed by Cassini. Sheer perfection! Cassini went on to create an entire wardrobe for the new First Lady. It would forever be known after that as “The Jackie Look.” Each and every design a classic. All those pastel sheaths, gorgeous gowns, beautiful white kid gloves and, of course, the pillbox hats. How about those stunning outfits she wore on that historic visit to Versailles. What is so striking about all these designs is that every single one of them could be worn today. The essence of classic, for sure. Of course, there were other designers along the way….Givenchy, Carolina Herrera, Chez Ninon and Valentino…who did their part in maintaining her elegant look through the years. But I think, for me, Cassini will be forever linked to that glorious time between 1960-1963, when this beautiful young woman transformed us in so many ways.When Jackie became First Lady, she was just 31 years old. Think of that! On her first visit to the White House, she was appalled at the condition of the public rooms, and that no trace of the past existed there. She decided to dedicate herself to resurrecting the glory of that special place. And resurrect it she did. Her dedication and fascination about history served her well in this endeavor. Her good friend, Diana Vreeland, said of her, “Jackie Kennedy put a little style into the White House, and into being First Lady of the land, and suddenly “good taste” became….well….good taste.” Taste, beauty, dignity…that was the essence of this woman.After settling in New York City in the 70s, she was instrumental in saving another classic…Grand Central Station. She fought the good fight and saved it from the wrecking ball. Can you imagine New York City without this grand cathedral of history? For that feat alone we all owe her a debt of gratitude. I remember catching a glimpse of her once on Fifth Avenue, ducking into the famous Red Door of Elizabeth Arden. Do I remember what she was wearing? Well, let’s see…..a classic beige trench coat, a beautiful silk scarf covering her head and, of course, those sunglasses. I was in heaven!Even after all these years, it seems impossible that Jackie should be gone from us. I think the words of one of her favorite poems, First Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay sums it up best….
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But, ah, my foes, and, oh, my friends –
It gives a lovely light.
Shine on, Jackie! There will never be another one like you.