By Steven L. Brawley, Editor-in-Chief
Next to her pink Chanel designed suit, the black Givenchy outfit Jackie wore to her husband's funeral events is probably her second most famous fashion item. It appears the ensemble included a jacket and dress, two-pieces.
There is strong photographic evidence of her wearing the black Givenchy ensemble (jacket for sure) several times prior to JFK's funeral.These include photos taken at JFK Jr.'s Dec. 1960 christening, the 1961 funeral of Anthony Biddle (U.S. Ambassador to Spain) accompanied by Joe Kennedy Sr., and Eleanor Roosevelt's 1962 funeral.
She bought several Givenchy items prior to becoming First Lady, including a vibrant red jacket. She also chose a striking Givenchy gown for the dinner held for the First Couple at Versailles in Paris in 1961. She would continue to select Givenchy outfits throughout her life.
Several Givenchy sources claim that Jackie rush ordered the Givenchy suit for the funeral, and that it was especially flown in from Paris on short notice. It is said, that at that time, the Givenchy atelier possessed individual patterns sheets for every female member of the Kennedy family - making it easy to produce an outfit quickly.
After some detailed research, it seems highly unlikely a new outfit could have been created and flown to Washington, DC in less than 24 hours (Jackie did not return to White House until 4 am on Sat. Nov. 23 and the funeral activiites began late morning Sun. Nov. 24).
As well, in Oleg Cassini's book "Thousand Days of Magic" he shows a sketch of the black outfit. He does not state he designed it, or provide information on its orgins. He was not hired to design for Jackie until Dec. 1960, and she wore this black outfit as early as Dec. 3, 1960. So the mystery continues somewhat on the exact date the suit was purchased. For now let's say it is a Givenchy ensemble from around 1960.
We certainly know that she wore the suit during the two-day funeral, during a special awards presentation to her secret service agent Clint Hill on Dec. 3, 1963, and then again on Dec. 5, when she left the White House.
Where is the Givenchy funeral suit now? We do not know. A pinkpillbox reader says that a few years back she contacted the Kennedy Library and asked about the suit. She was told at that time they did not have it in their archives. Recently, the library confirmed they also do not have the powder blue coats worn by Caroline and John Jr. in their possession, and that the Kennedy family still has them.
Image copyright Jake Gariepy (Dapper and Dreamy) - Jackie's 1960 Black Givenchy suit