The ensemble itself, a pink wool number, was a architecture from coco Chanel’s Fall/Winter 1961 collection. At the time, this chic staple was emblematic of sophistication and also the modern-day woman, and Kennedy had been photographed wearing the fit a few times prior to the Dallas rally. Make of a woven tweed cloth known as bouclé, the raspberry-pink ensemble featured a quilted navy collar, gold buttons, and also four square pockets. Return the style was by Chanel, the piece itself was fitted and also sewn for the very first Lady in brand-new York by high-end Manhattan boutique Chez Ninon, with fabrics, buttons, and trim straight sent from the Chanel atelier in Paris. This was because of Kennedy"s politics position—at the time, that was only acceptable for first Ladies to be checked out in American-made clothing.
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Kennedy accessorized she suit v a corresponding pillbox hat and white gloves on the fateful work in Texas. The outfit was supposedly a favourite of the chairman himself, who had asked her to wear it on the work of the Dallas rally. Seated beside her husband in one open-top convertible, Kennedy was recorded in the crossfires that the attack, and also was the very first to capture her husband"s body as the bullets hit.
After the shots to be fired, blood native JFK"s wounds seeped right into her tweed outfit. Vice President lyndon B. Johnson and also his wife Lady Bird to be in a separate auto during the parade, and also Lady Bird later reported exactly how she "saw, in the president"s car, a bundle that pink, just like a drift of blossoms, lying on the back seat. I think it was Mrs. Kennedy, lying over the President"s body."
Following the assassination, Kennedy refused to remove the blood-soaked fit upon arrival at the hospital. She ongoing to wear the on the Air force One ride earlier to Washington, broadcasted on nationwide television together Vice President lyndon B. Johnson to be sworn in as the 36th chairman of the joined States. The suit stood together a windy statement of grief, and also she declared that she wanted JFK’s assassin come “see what they’ve done.” The very first Lady expressed that her only regret was wiping her confront clean the blood prior to going ~ above camera. That wasn"t until the following morning the she finally removed the stained ensemble.
Today, the suit"s shining raspberry hue is identified with the assassination, however the shade Kennedy wore the day was not well-known to the general public until November 29th, 1963, when now-shuttered Life magazine featured colorized photos for a memorial issue dedicated to JFK. Up till that day, just sepia-toned bloodstains were visible on Kennedy with the video clip footage of lyndon B. Johnson"s makeshift inauguration.
The whereabouts the the pillbox hat and also gloves are unknown come the public, however Kennedy"s suit remains kept in the national Archives, in addition to the stockings, shoes, and also handbag she wore that day. While various other items indigenous the assassination are on display at museum in the U.S., the suit and accompaniments are hidden from the general public eye—and will stay that way for practically a century.
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Kennedy was careful to keep the suit and it to be subsequently sent out to the national Archives in the 1960s, although the piece technically belonged to the Kennedy family. In 2003, the an initial Lady’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy, official donated the items come the Archives, yet requested the her mother’s suit stay privately stored because that 100 years. If the suit ever before does become available for viewing, the won’t be until 2103. A provision in Caroline"s deed that gift stated that the suit remain out of the general public eye for 100 years so regarding avoid any type of “undignified or sensational usage of the products (such together public display) or any other use which would have tendency in any way to dishonor the storage of the late President or reason unnecessary grief or experiencing to members that his family.” till then, the suit and also accompanying pieces remain within the Archives, in a secure, climate-controlled area.
The bouclé skirt suit has come to represent the essence of Kennedy herself—a sophisticated, fashionable, beloved an initial Lady, that stood solid amidst a public tragedy and also refused come conceal she pain. The ensemble holds an extreme emotional significance, serving as an emblem not just of Kennedy"s grief, however of the an effective public statement the followed.