1. The pink suit was first created by Coco Chanel for her 1961 autumn/winter collection.
2. Jackie’s suit was actually not created by Chanel, but was instead a high-end “reproduction” by New York fashion salon Chez Ninon, made for her in 1961.
When Jackie became First Lady, her father-in-law, Joseph Kennedy, reportedly discouraged her from buying clothing from Parisian fashion houses. The purpose was to appear patriotic by wearing only American-made clothing.
Because of this restriction, Jackie became a loyal client of Chez Ninon in New York.
3. While Chanel didn’t actually construct the suit, the design house did reportedly provide the fabric, buttons, and trim to make it. Chez Ninon merely assembled the suit in a process called “line for line.”
By having Chez Ninon create the suit — using Chanel fabric and materials — this allowed Jackie to get around the restriction of buying and wearing French-designed clothing.
The jacket by Chez Ninon (in 1963) was estimated to cost between $800 to $1,000.
4. Jackie wore the suit on at least six occasions prior to President Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas. Below she is seen wearing the suit on a official trip to London (March 1962).
Here, Jackie wears the suit while holding John Jr. as she awaits the arrival of President Ahmed Ben Bella of Algeria (October 1962).
5. Jackie wore the suit in Dallas because President Kennedy requested she wear it — it was one of his personal favorites.
According to biographer William Manchester, Jackie told him that President Kennedy had discussed what she was going to wear, saying:
“There are going to be all these rich, Republican women at that lunch … wearing mink coats and diamond bracelets. And you’ve got to look as marvelous as any of them. Be simple — show these Texans what good taste really is.
6. Following the assassination, Jackie refused to take off the blood-stained suit. She told Lady Bird Johnson, “Oh, no…I want them to see what they have done to Jack.”
Above, Jackie still wearing the suit, alongside Lyndon B. Johnson as he was sworn in as the 36th president of the United States.
7. Jackie would not take off the suit until she arrived back at the White House the following morning.
8. When Jackie did take it off, a maid packed it in box and gave it to Jackie’s mother, Janet Auchincloss. Six months later her mother would give the box over to the National Archives with a note saying: “Jackie’s suit and bag worn Nov. 22, 1963.”
9. The suit has never been cleaned and is kept out of public view in a temperature- and humidity-controlled room. The precise location where it is stored is kept secret.
10. Jackie’s signature pillbox hat was not included in the box. It has been missing since shortly after she returned to Washington, D.C.
Jackie was last seen wearing it in the emergency room of Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.
11. At the time, the majority of the public did not know Jackie’s suit was pink: In 1963, newspapers didn’t print color photos and television news wasn’t broadcast in color.
It wasn’t until till 11 months later that Life magazine would publish a special report on the findings of the Warren Commission. In the issue they included eight color frame enlargements from Abraham Zapruder’s film.
Life was given the exclusive rights to the Zapruder film, and along with it, the magazine ran full-page color photos of the Kennedys arriving at Love Field.
12. Caroline Kennedy (Jackie’s sole surviving heir) officially deeded the suit to the National Archives in 2003. A condition of the deed prevents it from being seen by the public until at least 2103.
When the 100-year deed expires, the Kennedy family descendants can — if they choose — renegotiate the right to display it.
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