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Made for Jackie

How two savvy Southern belles styled 

the first lady – and created her pink suit

 

By Jan Tuckwood

Special to The Palm Beach Post

 

The ladies of Chez Ninon never considered Jacqueline Kennedy to be a great beauty.

She looked exquisite in photographs, they would say. She knew how to pose and how to direct her wide-set eyes. She loved French couturiers and how their designs showed off her angular figure.

She knew the colors that flattered her – and the power of a fashion statement.

That’s why the first lady ordered a raspberry-pink, double-breasted, wool bouclé suit with navy blue trim from Chez Ninon, the New York boutique run by Sophie Shonnard and Nona McAdoo Park that had dressed society ladies since 1927.

The suit was an authorized copy of a Chanel from the fall/winter 1961 collection. A receipt saved by Bill Cunningham, the famous fashion photographer who documented street style for decades and worked for Sophie and Nona in the ‘60s, shows a “fushia (sic) wool suit” was ordered for $495 on Dec. 19, 1960. That could have been the pink suit, because Sophie and Nona would have seen the Chanel collection in Paris and decided what Jackie might like.

With an eye for style sharpened by their own high-society upbringing, Sophie and Nona were among the first Americans to bring licensed reproductions from Paris to New York. Jackie’s pink suit was assumed to be a Chanel because it looked exactly like one: the pattern, fabrics, trims and buttons came directly from Chanel.

“We make all our own clothes here, some to our own design and some copied from French models,” Nona told the press in January 1962, after writer and politician Clare Boothe Luce accused Mrs. Kennedy of having a Marie-Antoinette moment and buying too many French clothes. 

“Everything Mrs. Kennedy has purchased from us is made with American labor – and I think that is what is being questioned here,” Nona said. She was not about to take any criticism from Luce. After all, Nona McAdoo Park got her political smarts from her father, William G. McAdoo, who was President Woodrow Wilson’s secretary of the treasury and almost became the 1924 Democratic nominee for president. Luce was a Republican.

 

Jan Tuckwood is the former associate editor of The Palm Beach Post. She is writing a book on Sophie Shonnard and Nona McAdoo Park.


Entire article may be found on GoogleMade for Jackie

How two savvy Southern belles styled 

the first lady – and created her pink suit

 

By Jan Tuckwood

Special to The Palm Beach Post

 


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