Wednesday, March 23, 2005


The Field Museum in Chicago currently has an interesting special exhibit....over 70 outfits that belonged to Jackie Kennedy and were worn during her brief 3 years as first lady.

To say that I enjoyed the exhibit would be an understatement. My dear husband was with me for the entire 2 hours and he had even insisted that we both take the audio tour with headsets, which we did. His patience inspite of the fashion extravaganza allowed for me to be taken back to my junior high school days, a time when the styles introduced by Jackie and her favorite designer, Oleg Cassini, greatly influenced even the girls my age.

I loved the exhibit, case after case of stylish, girly suits, matching hats and handbags, incredible fabrics and lovely, gentle colors. Less than a third of the way through, I frantically began sketching some of the unique touches, the trademarks of au coutoure (made by hand) design. Lavish embroidery work, decorative belts, and fabulous buttons were details I did not want to forget.

At the end of the display, there was a Jackie bookstore where I ended up buying a large book that showed photographs of all the design details I had awkwardly sketched. I will refer to this book often when I think about sewing.

Three interesting things struck me as I came home and thought about Jackie, her influence and her life. The first is that she had a profound influence on how the White House has been preserved since she lived there. This was good for all of us.

Secondly, Jackie was totally committed to her children. She once made the statement that it didn't really matter what you were successful in in your life if you were a failure at raising your children. I would heartily agree.

And thirdly, Jackie must have had a difficult life, one in the spotlight, one where all the painful moments were laid bare for the world to see...the death of an infant, public death of a husband, marital infidelities, the list goes on and on.

The exhibit brought that home to me. The interest in the fashion aside, those clothes are just the shell of her life, left to be looked upon. They were not her. It made me wonder what others will remember of me when I am gone.


Post a Comment

<< Home