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Phillip D. Johnson attends the opening of the Met’s Jacqueline Kennedy: the White House Years exhibition

Written and photographed by Phillip D. Johnson

Above left: Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Above: Television newswoman and Jacqueline's niece Maria Shriver. Left: Senator Edward Kennedy and his wife, Victoria, followed by hotelier Vikram Chatwal and date Karen Elson.

Above left: Stephanie Seymour Brant and her husband, Peter. Above: Helena Christensen. Left: Christy Turlington in Yves Saint Laurent. Below left: Elle Macpherson in Valentino. Below: Broadway and Tony Award-winning actor Alan Cumming.

Right: Maggie Rizer and friend. Far right: Iman and Naomi Campbell accompanied by Stephano Dolce and Domenico Gabbana. Below: Angela Lindvall and Carmen Kass.


November 25 Birth of John F. Kennedy Jr.

January 20
JFK inaugurated, Jacqueline Kennedy becomes third-youngest First Lady.
February 23 The First Lady announces formation of 12-member Fine Arts Committee for the White House to develop restoration plans.
March 29 Lorraine Pearce appointed White House's first curator.
April 12 Yuri Gagarin is first man to orbit Earth.
April 17 Fidel Castro's forces repel Bay of Pigs invasion.
May 3 First state dinner of Kennedy administration, honouring President Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia.
May 16 President and Mrs Kennedy arrive in Canada for state visit.
May 24 Prince Rainier and Princess Grace visit the White House.
May 31 President and Mrs Kennedy arrive in France for three-day visit.
June 2 President Kennedy introduces himself to a press conference as ‘the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris.’
June 4 President and Mrs Kennedy arrive in London for the christening of their niece, Anna Christina Radziwill. Later, they dine with the Queen and Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace.
July 11 The Kennedys host the first state dinner outside the White House, at Mt Vernon, in honour of President Mohammad Ayub Khan of Pakistan.
August 12 Berlin Wall construction begins.
August 22 Mrs Kennedy sponsors the First Concert for Young People, held on the White House's south lawn.
September 21 Public law 87-286, championed by Mrs Kennedy, makes White House a national monument.
September 22 Attorney-General Robert Kennedy's petition to ban segregation in bus travel approved.
November 3 The White House Historical Association is incorporated. At the National Gallery of Art, Mrs Kennedy opens the Tutankhamun's Treasures exhibition, then receives an ancient statue as a gift from President Gamal Abder Nasser of Egypt.
November 13 Cellist Pablo Casals performs at the White House at a state dinner for Governor Luis Muñoz Marín of Puerto Rico.
November 25 The White House Paintings Committee formed.
December 14 President Kennedy establishes the President's Commission on the Status of Women.
December 15 President and Mrs Kennedy embark on state visits of Puerto Rico, Colombia and Venezuela.

February 14 Mrs Kennedy hosts a televised tour of the White House. She later receives a special Emmy Award for public service.


Source: Metropolitan Museum programme

OLLYWOOD’S most famous costume designer called her ‘the greatest single influence on fashion in history.’ Women’s Wear Daily coined the phrase ‘Her Elegance’ to denote her sovereign sway over the [fashion] industry. To most other people in America and around the world, she was simply one of the most captivating women who ever lived.
   To mark the 40th anniversary of Jacqueline Kennedy’s emergence as one of our most unforgettable first ladies, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will celebrate this spring with an unprecedented special exhibition of her iconic fashions and fashion sense. The exhibition, Jacqueline Kennedy: the White House Years—Selections from the John F. Kennedy Library Library and Museum, is a collaborative effort between the Met and the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, which runs from May 1 to July 29, 2001. (After leaving the Met, the exhibition will be re-staged at the Kennedy Library in Massachusetts September 12, 2001 through February 28, 2002.)
   It features some 80 original costumes and accessories donated by the former First Lady after she left the White House, as well as documents and objects associated with Mrs Kennedy’s work on the White House restoration and its historical preservation. The collection encompasses key elements from her formal White House wardrobe, pieces worn during President Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign, as well as major pieces from her trips abroad on presidential trips.
   ‘It is [entirely] appropriate indeed that the Museum, an institution with which Jacqueline Kennedy enjoyed profoundly close ties, should celebrate the timeless impact of her extraordinary, unforgettable grace and style,’ notes Philippe de Montebello, Director of the Metropolitan Museum. ‘It was Mrs Kennedy who personally chose the Temple of Dendur as Egypt’s gift to the United States. She was an important part of our institutional life, and it is a great honour to pay tribute to her with this exploration of her impact on the culture of fashion.’
   American Vogue’s European editor-in-chief, Hamish Bowles, was tapped to serve as a creative consultant to the exhibition, as well as editor and contributing writer to the accompanying exhibition catalogue which was published to coincide with the opening of the show.
   ‘Jacqueline Kennedy is one of history’s great style icons,’ said Mr Bowles. ‘She set the standards that American women strove to follow, and, on the world stage, provided a visual metaphor for the youth and promise of the Kennedy administration. Her influence as First Lady was primal and pervasive, both in the national consciousness and on the international stage, and has proven enduringly potent.
   ‘This is a singular opportunity to bring together and explore so many different elements of that iconic style and substance, through a synergy of clothing, related objects, photography and video.’
   Highlighted pieces includes the fawn coat and the much celebrated pillbox hat worn for the presidential inaugural ceremonies on the steps of the Capitol on January 20, 1961; the regal ivory satin gown worn to the pre-Inaugural gala; and the red dress worn for the televised tour of the White House on February 14, 1962.

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