Here at team Semple we are just a day away from our much awaited press day for the launch of our new product Behind the Seams. Behind the Seams, in case you haven’t heard, is a luxury gift service that features a bespoke crafted book detailing the history of your treasured garment.
In honour of our new service we have been looking at the history behind some of the world’s most iconic outfits. Last Tuesday we featured Marilyn Monroe and this week its none other than Jackie Kennedy.
The picture of Jackie Kennedy in her pink Chanel suit is one that has not only become an iconic fashion statement, but also a piece of American history. There are an abundance of dresses made famous by the stars that wore them, but none carry the stigma and a somber that Jackie’s Chanel suit evokes.
November 22nd 1963, Dallas Fort Worth Texas, Jackie Kennedy accompanied her husband, on what would be the last day of his life. John F Kennedy was assassinated as he drove through Fort Worth in the open-top Lincoln contineatle, with Jackie Kenndey at his left side. The moment the first of three gun shots was fired fate was set, JFK had been brutally murdered in a case that would never be brought to justice and the image of his wife in that classic, strawberry-pink, Chanel suit trimmed in navy blue, splattered with her husband’s blood, was forever burnt into the minds of Americans everywhere.
Jackie Kenndey threw herself over her husband’s body as the car continued to drive through Fort Worth, drenching the soft pink wool with his blood. At the hospital she was encouraged to change out of the soaked clothes, to which she refused. Jackie Kennedy Insisted on wearing the stained suit to fly her husband’s body back home and to the swearing in of Lyndon B Johnson. Upon being asked if that was a choice which she had later come to regret, she replied “my only regret is that I had already washed his blood off my face.”
The suit, which was never cleaned, was donated to the National Archives in Maryland where it is stored out of public view in a controlled environment. The temperature hovers between 65 and 68 degrees and the humidity is 40 percent, with the air changed six times an hour to preserve the garment. The Kennedy family placed a 100 year deed on the suit in order to keep it discreetly out of public view until it ceased to have a sensational voyeuristic value. The deed is up of negotiation in 2103.
At that fateful moment that shocked the world, a simple double breasted Chanel suit, a style Jackie Kennedy had worn many times before, suddenly became embedded in America’s historical conscience. It has been said that the story the suits tells is not only of one womans “fashionable sophistication and international outlook, but also of America itself in 1963; Modern, beautiful and shockingly stained in blood.”