The Story Behind Jackie Kennedy’s Halston Pillbox Hat

The Story Behind Jackie Kennedy's Halston Pillbox Hat

Former first woman Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was considered one of, if not essentially the most, defining vogue trendsetters of the Sixties. Full cease. From her oversize sun shades to her trademark bouffants, she stays a mode icon even many years later, and few vogue statements have had a extra lasting historic influence than Jackie O’s pillbox hat. Properly, in case you are not accustomed to how the long-lasting accent got here to be — or the artistic brains behind it — Netflix’s Ryan Murphy-produced Halston, now streaming, explores the lifetime of legendary clothier Roy Halston Frowick, who rose to fame after designing the merchandise in query.

The primary time Jackie donned a pillbox hat was for John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inauguration, and, because it seems, the look was considerably unintentional. Based on Halston, Jackie actually dented his original design. “Humorous factor about that pillbox hat,” Halston stated throughout a 1966 interview, per Vogue. “It was made too small for her . . . however Mrs. Kennedy wore it anyway. When a gust of wind threatened to topple it from her head, she dented it hanging on to the hat. The Seventh Avenue copycat hat makers reproduced the design by the hundreds so precisely that every pillbox had a dent in it.” How about that!

On the time, Halston was Bergdorf Goodman’s in-house milliner, and his profession actually took off after the inauguration, for apparent causes. By the mid-Sixties, he was designing garments and befriending Hollywood’s elite, however not everybody appeared happy together with his success. Designer Oleg Cassini — Jackie’s private couturier who created a total of 300 looks for the previous FLOTUS over time — later insisted that accessorizing Jackie with a pillbox hat was his thought. Based on Oleg, the pillbox was included within the sketches he offered Jackie forward of the inauguration ceremony.

After The New York Occasions declared that Halston was, in fact, the man behind the pillbox in a 1973 profile, Oleg referred to as the declare “an outright lie.” Based on Steven Gaines’s 1991 ebook, Merely Halston: The Untold Story, Oleg alleged that whereas Halston might need been the one to bodily make the hat worn by Jackie to the inauguration, he created the initial design. “A pillbox hat is probably not vital, however the fact is,” Oleg wrote.

Whereas it is nonetheless up for debate whether or not Oleg performed a task within the hat’s design, there is not any denying that Halston’s creation made each him and Jackie style-setters. Actually, Halston’s star continued to rise all through the ’70s, earlier than issues took a flip for the designer within the ’80s after he famously misplaced the proper to design underneath his personal identify. Then issues bought worse: In 1988, Halston examined constructive for HIV, and on March 26, 1990, he died of lung most cancers difficult by HIV, although his identify lives on by his sensible designs.

Watch Halston on Netflix to study extra concerning the designer’s rise, fall, and function in making Jackie Kennedy a vogue icon for the ages.


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