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Jacqueline Kennedy : The White House Years: Selections from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum Hardcover – May 13, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Bulfinch Press (May 13, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0821227459
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821227459
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 9.4 x 11.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Did the clothes make Jackie, or did Jackie make the clothes? Decide for yourself: Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years is a stunning catalog of some of Jacqueline Kennedy's most important dresses as worn during her years as first lady of the United States. As visually sleek and elegant as Mrs. Kennedy herself, the book offers a beautiful analysis of the stunning, simple outfits that typified the Jackie style and brought a breath of sleek modernity to the White House after the somewhat frumpy fussiness of previous first lady Bess Truman. Released to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Kennedy's "emergence" as a style icon, the book presents an eclectic selection of suits, evening dresses, daywear, and accessories from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum collection. Divided into cities where each item was first worn, the gowns, suits, and dresses are first presented alone in a full-page color photo. Each is then accompanied by various photos of Jackie wearing the item and detailed design notes, history, and anecdotes behind the outfit.

These photos give a wonderful context to the clothes, and it's clear that Jackie's carriage and persona injected life into these garments--which sometimes appear markedly different from what one might deduce as each item's "personality" when simply viewing it alone. For example, a pale cream embroidered silk Givenchy evening gown looks dull and somewhat dowdy when seen alone, but the accompanying photograph of Jackie wearing it while cuddling a newborn John Kennedy Jr. transforms the dress into something feminine and timeless. Or a very simple, innocently pretty pink shantung evening gown by Guy Douvier becomes arrestingly sexy when she wears it with nothing but white gloves and a Palm Beach tan. Contextualizing and interpreting Kennedy's style is an important part of this book. Featured are essays on Jackie and her effect on the world of style by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Kennedy friend Rachel Lambert Mellon, and the book's author and Vogue editor at large, Hamish Bowles. Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years accompanies an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. --Marisa Lencioni, Amazon.co.uk

From Library Journal

Bowles's book accompanies a summer 2001 Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition of the same name, curated by Bowles, European editor at large of Vogue. The focus here is Jackie's famous and much emulated wardrobe. Each gown, suit, and accessory has an informational entry that includes a photograph of Jackie wearing the item. The selections highlight the first lady's savvy and sensitivity to the symbolic nature of dress. At a 1962 White House dinner for 49 Nobel Laureates, she looked like a "modern-day muse" in a "liquid, columnar dress suggestive of ancient statuary." A red wool twill Pierre Cardin suit, worn in Canada for her international debut as first lady, was "perceived as a stylish and calculated compliment to the uniforms of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police." The book provides a wonderful context for the images (many never before seen) while giving readers an enjoyable look at the woman who was arguably our most elegant first lady. Essays by White House gardener and friend Rachel Mellon, historian Arthur Schlesinger, and the author capture Mrs. Kennedy's personality. Highly recommended for all libraries with an interest in Jacqueline Kennedy.
- Jennifer Mayer, Univ. of Wyoming Libs., Laramie
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Perfect coffee table book.
ATX cutie
Until one sees the pictures you are unable to appreciate the beautiful designs, fabric, and colors that made up Mrs. Kennedy's wardrobe.
Lucinda H. Contant
Beautiful photos of Jackie's fashion with detailed info about each one.
Nhester

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a "must have" book for anyone who loves the beauty, style and grace of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, fashion and history. The beautiful fashion photography with insightful essays showcases the former First Lady as one of the 20th century's fashion icons. Her clothing, simple and modern, yet classically elegant, created by major designers of the time such as Oleg Cassini and Givenchy, reflects her visionary fashion savvy. This book will make you ask do clothes make a person, or does the inner soul and outer beauty of a person, such as the former First Lady, make the clothes?
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Brown on June 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
When I took this tome out of its mailer & began to turn its pages, I suddenly remembered my own set of formal white cotton gloves - long since discarded - so reverential was the aura emanating from this glossy artbook.
Jacqueline Kennedy kept it simple - most of her clothes were in solid colors with only huge buttons, cockades or discreet stylized bows, scarves, shawls or frogs for detail. In the Travel Chapter we see the simplicity of her wardrobe & her passion for colors.
Combining original & new photographs, this volume presents images we have rarely seen, as well as photos that have become a part of our national consciouness. The final one of the President & First Lady together in the open touring auto needs no words - we all know what happened next.
Certainly a treasure of memories - where we were, what we wore, what we wished we could wear. I never realized how Mrs. Kennedy acquired her wardrobe assuming, incorrectly, that she always wore top-of-the-line haute couture - when in actuality she wore "knock-offs", sometimes chosen by her mother-in-law.
For anyone who cannot make the pilgrimage to the 40th Anniversary Exhibition at the John F. Kennedy Library & Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York & who craves visions of those much-mimicked fashions of yesteryear.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By tony philpott on June 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
After reading some of the reviews for this book stating it was dull and offered nothing of particular interest except alot of talk about A line dresses and cuts on the bias, I was apprehensive about wasting so much money on it.However having bought nearly every book published on Mrs Onassis I went ahead and ordered it anyway.Upon opening it I was pleasantly surprised. It was well set out,interesting and with many fine photos I had not seen, to illustrate the somewhat dry text.But the most facinating aspect of this book is to actually see what these dresses looked like in colour....after seeing numerous black and white photos of the Kennedy reception at the Elysee Palace and to hear the pink straw dress worn by Mrs kennedy described, it was mesmerizing to actually see it...no wonder she was described as radiant....and the most amazing thing is that Mrs kennedy dresses were sometimes even more interesting when viewed from the back...the intricate drapery and patterns.The photo of her in a backless sundress on the Italian Riveria is a revelation as it was worn in 1962 and was so ahead of its time...this book shows that Jacqueline kennedy had true style and is worthy of the mantle of fashion icon even though she would probably want to be remembered for her more substancial contributions.A very worthwhile addition to any devotee's library
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Format: Hardcover
Caution: If you like looking at lots of photographs of early 1960s designer dresses, you will probably like this book. Otherwise, this is probably not the right book for you.
During the presidential election of 1960, Ms. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy made an immense impression on American society. At 31, she was a dramatic contrast with the vice president's wife, Ms. Patricia Nixon, and recent first ladies (Ms. Mame Eisenhower, Ms. Bess Truman, and Ms. Eleanor Roosevelt). She was much younger than these women, was pregnant with her son, John, and seemed like someone who came from another world. Ms. Kennedy was highly cultured, interested in the fine arts, attractive in a way that showed up well in photographs and on television, and wore gorgeous clothes of the sort usually only seen in the best fashion magazines.
Once in the White House, her differences from other first ladies became more apparent. A major effort to redecorate the White House with authentic pieces ensued, Lafayette Square's appearance was conserved, entertaining began to feature people from the world of fine arts, the Rose Garden was redesigned, and the clothes she wore became even more magnificent. A great deal of the sense of Camelot certainly came from Ms. Kennedy.
I was disappointed in the book. For someone who had such a wide and important influence on America, the book barely seemed to scratch the surface. It is almost as though a decision had been made to create a book about her dresses on state occasions, and to mention and show all of the other influences she had as little as possible.
This book minimally and partially captures the impact she had on our national consciousness. The best essay is found in the foreword by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. who provides a good overview of the influence of Ms.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Verum on May 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be an excellent fashion text book. Not only did I not find the pictures of JBKO's clothes on manniquins sterile, I found them to be most illuminating as to the garments' drape and design. This book was not designed to be a history of JBKO, rather it is a text on an important icon in the history of fashion. To critize it as lacking in other areas is to not understand the book's purpose. I highly recommend it to students of history and design.
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