Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Bloody Chanel Replica

As the commemoration of  the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's death nears on November 22nd, 2014, Dallas is preparing to remember the historical day when JFK was shot on the streets of downtown as he waived to the crowd watching him pass by.

There are several images that have been carved into our memory as the world watched the assassination of the then U.S. President. One of those images consists of Jackie O's pink Chanel suit that she wore which got splattered with the President's blood since she was the closest to him at the time the bullet hit his head. 

On our blog, we often discuss fashion theory in terms of trying to understand a deeper meaning of what the clothes we wear mean. Many of us have items in our closet that mean to us more than objects on a hanger, but carry codes of attachment that we rarely realize. 

On the day of the assassination, after having lost her dear husband, Jackie O got on the plane to fly back to Washington, D.C. She was advised by her staff to change her clothes and freshen up. Mrs. Kennedy refused to change her pink suit. She could have easily washed up, retouched her make up, and changed into a clean suit to prepare herself to face the country, the world, the media that followed the new widow. That is what most women whose clothes have gotten stained would do. But she didn't. She mourned in dignity. She mourned in vogue. She mourned in pink splashed with red. That suit would never be the same to her, neither would her life, having lost her beloved. 

Jackie O's pink suit is a perfect example of a historical day in which, the clothes a woman wears tell a story- a history that can never be re-written. 

This brings us to the interesting topic of clothes, attachment and memory. What makes one so dearly cherish, or regrettably cherish a material object that is made of fabric, that has the purpose of covering one's body, providing modesty? What is it that makes an article of clothing hard to separate or detach from? It's not the physical object, as much as the memory that is carved into the object. How we wore it, where we wore it, who we were with when we wore it, and what we experienced when we wore it.

For Jackie O, it was the pink Chanel suit that she had worn many times before at different events, but it was the bloodiness of the suit that SHE would never forget. And it is the grace of Jackie O that WE will never forget. She had style. She had grace. The Bloody Chanel was a suit that the world would not dare forget.

If you would like to read more about what happened to the famous suit, please click the New York Times article below:

Jacqueline Kennedy's Smart Pink Suit Preserved

Elif Kavakci for HijabiTopia

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