Moderne Day Woman vintage
JACQUELINE LEE BOUVIER KENNEDY ONASSIS
By Roxana Vosough
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, a name in which speaks proudly for itself. Jackie lived in another era which we would not necessarily associate as modern today, regardless she is still a classic and timeless example for what many women strive to be today, thus an ideal for our vintage take on the Moderne Day Woman. Jackie was an example for the well-rounded, hardworking, worldly, political, philanthropic, and journalist. She lived in many worlds, upholding a level of sophistication and class in each.
She began her university education at Vassar College for the first two years, then left her junior year to study at the Universite de Grenoble in Provence and the Sorbonne in Paris.
Upon her return she completed her degree at George Washington University. In 1951 after graduating, she entered Vogue magazine’s Prix de Paris contest, in which the prize consisted of spending half the year in Paris, and the latter half in New York as junior editor.
The process involved creating an original theme for an entire issue; from illustrations to articles, layout, design and an advertising campaign that would be in accord with the issues content. In the requisite essay: People I wish I had Known, Jackie included playwright Oscar Wilde, poet and philosophy Charles Baudelaire and ballet impresario Serge Diaghilev.
Jackie was selected as one of twelve finalists, out of 1,280 entries, after several rigorous interviews, she was selected as the winner. However her mother prohibited her to leave the states, which changed the course of her life both professionally and personally. She went on to work for the Washington Times-Herald, making $42.50 a week, photographing and interviewing local citizens with one question a day. Among her first interviews were Pat Nixon, Vice President Nixon, and the notable John F. Kennedy. One of her last assignments after her engagement to John F. Kennedy was to cover the coronation of Queen Elizabeth’s 1953 coronation.
During her wedding to John F. Kennedy, she remarked that her professional plans would revolve around writing a novel. However her responsibilities as a senators spouse preceded her plans. She drafted her husbands 1956 endorsement statement, and served as the coordinating editor for his Pulitzer Prize winning book, Profiles in Courage, which she encouraged him to write during his back recovery surgery. In 1958, she made short speeches in Italian, French, and Spanish to ethnic constituents for his re-election as senator. Two years later Jackie was pregnant with their first child, and John was running for presidential office. Although she played a limited role in the public eye during the election, she wrote a column during the time, entitled, “Campaign Wife”, culminating her personal life with the democratic party policies. She also participated in numerous newspaper ads to taping radio commercials in several languages.
She continued to maintain and create many international relations by making more foreign trips (both independently and with the president) than any other first lady.She travelled through out Europe, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Columbia, Mexico and Morocco within the first several years.
Jackie well aware of her image as public figure, was the first First lady to be assigned a press secretary. She sketched many designs for her clothing, while selecting notably rising designers, such as Valentino and Givenchy. Jackie’s wardrobe was swift in attaining international attention.
After President Kennedy’s assignation in 1963 she continued to support measures she thought important to her husband with direct communication to President Lyndon B. Johnson. Following these actions she moved to New York City with her children, working on several projects: creation of the JFK library, and building the academic direction of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
She frequently traveled abroad, leading efforts to halt the potential damage in rising water levels in Venice, Italy, and attempted to better broker relations between the US and Cambodia.
Upon her re-marriage in 1968 to Aristotle Onassis (20 years her elder), she lived in Greece and Paris. In Greece she worked in a continual effort with the government to retain an international marketplace.
After Aristotle’s death, Jackie pursued her writing career, becoming an editor at Viking Press, often writing the introductions to books she edited. Nevertheless Jackie continued to lead many campaigns in the arts in New York City: the revitalization of the Broadway Theater District, Central Park Conservatory, Literary Lions of the NY Public Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Arts Egyptian Wing & Costume Institute, and the American Ballet Theater at Lincoln Center.
Jackie was in constant pursuit of being true in everything she believed and knew, not settling but continually achieving. She made the absolute most of the privileged positions she was in, while raising two children. She was fundamental in building the Kennedy name, for which it stands for today. This was a woman who strode gracefully through life’s journey, leaving a beautiful legacy.
Upon inception into the white house as First Lady, Jackie was an avid supporter of the arts, encouraging the newly elected president to invite a great deal of artists to the inaugural ceremony. She claimed her priorities where her children, and maintaining family privacy. However Jackie’s ambitious energy drove her to do far more during her time in the white house. She not only created a committee of advisors to act on historically restoring the white house, but also enacted a Public Law, encouraging people to donate important historical items, while pressing the white house curator to permanently continue preserve the historical integrity of the mansion
.Jackie made a great effort to infuse a world of culture through her position. She was noted for opening the white house and hosting various performances of opera, ballet, Shakespeare, and modern jazz. She also arranged to make a loan of the Mona Lisa to the US, after meeting with the French Minister of Culture. Most notably she aspired to create a US Department of Arts and Humanities, which she claimed would emerge with the creation of a presidential art advisor and advisory board in 1961. Although this vision was not achieved in the White House, Jackie later claimed that the National Endowment for the Humanities and Arts achieved this goal.
She obviously held strong political opinions, but kept them in private in close relation with her husband.
Roxana Vosough, 25 is the founder of Mode-Moderne and publisher of MMJ.
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