30 Years of Quest: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

 

London, 1961: The minute she stepped off the plane she caused a sensation. This wasn’t Mamie Eisenhower—a perfectly nice woman in her own right. But Jackie was beautiful and chic, well educated and instinctively elegant. People screamed, “Jackie! Jackie! Jackie!” everywhere she went. She took it all in her stride.

By the time I moved to New York in 1964, Jackie owned the city. John Fairchild of WWD would later christen her “Jackie O.” She stopped all conversation when she walked into a restaurant. When I asked Liz Smith what she remembered most about Jackie, she told me, “Re-reading all the recent books about the Kennedy years, I am struck once again with what an influence Jackie had on her adoring and, even later, speculative public. Jackie was in a class by herself. When you first photographed her in London in 1961, I loved her from afar. You caught her essence, right up through Caroline’s wedding and after. When I finally met her she was ever intellectually intrigued, adoring gossip and fun and living through the tragedy which she tried so hard to overcome. I think it amused Jackie to be seen with a gossip columnist. She liked to make waves and she both loved and loathed being photographed. You always knew when you had a real star, and she was a real star for the ages.”

I showed this photograph to my friend, design director emeritus of Tiffany & Co. John Loring. It was taken in London in 1962 as Jackie was on her way to Buckingham Palace to lunch with Queen Elizabeth. John said, “That photograph was taken before 1963.” When I asked how he knew, he replied, “She never smiled that way after 1963.”