Oh, Jackie, O! When John F. Kennedy arrived at the Oval Office in 1961, signifying a political shake-up that promised a total departure from past eras of US governance, his wife Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was by his side. Chic and modern without a beige suit in sight, her daring style fast became a public agenda all of its own. Think short hemlines, boat necks, a love for colour and bow-cinched waists. This was the first time a presidential couple had been so young (she was 3, he was 43 when sworn in) and modern. And Jackie’s fashion sense struck a chord with a new generation. Her style influence rivalled that of the top 1960s fashion muses – Audrey Hepburn and Twiggy included – to change the way Americans dressed, and remains iconic today.
French-born American fashion designer Oleg Cassini helped create the classic “Jackie look”, designing many of her vibrant pillbox hats, candy-coloured coats and those sleeveless A-line shifts she loved – at formal functions she often accessorised them with white gloves. But she also shopped at Chanel, Givenchy and patronised US designer Norman Norell. Her approach extended beyond what she wore to how she lived - her overhaul of the White House interiors got tongues wagging.
While her husband’s time in office was cut tragically short (JFK was assassinated in Dallas in 1963) Jackie never left the spotlight. Her second marriage to Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis saw her snapped in chic spots around the world (her holiday style is legendary). After his death in 1975, she began working as a book editor in New York. That came with a whole new wardrobe including those signature trench coats, oversized shades and Gucci scarves. Her '70s maxi dresses from this period look pretty inspiring to us in the current fashion moment, and no-one knew her way around tailoring quite like Jackie.