Press release


May 1 - July 29, 2001

This press kit for Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years--Selections from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum includes a general release about the exhibition, immediately following, as well as these five releases, to which you can link directly by clicking on their titles:
Statement from L'Oréal
Statement from Condé Nast
Hamish Bowles
Book Accompanying the Exhibition
Related Programs

(New York, November 13, 2000) – To mark the 40th anniversary of her emergence as America's First Lady, and explore her enduring global influence on style, Jacqueline Kennedy will be celebrated this spring at The Metropolitan Museum of Art with an unprecedented special exhibition of her iconic fashions. Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years––Selections from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum will be presented by The Costume Institute from May 1 to July 29, 2001.

The exhibition is made possible by L'Oréal.

Additional support has been provided by Condé Nast.

The exhibition was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum.

The exhibition of some 80 original costumes and accessories will come from the collection of the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston, to which the former First Lady donated these landmark pieces after she left the White House. The collection embraces key elements from her formal White House wardrobe – what Mrs. Kennedy herself called her "state clothes" – as well as pieces worn during her husband's 1960 presidential campaign.

Documents and objects associated with Mrs. Kennedy's work on White House restoration, historic preservation, and the arts will be exhibited along with the clothes she wore at corresponding events. The exhibition will be organized in close collaboration with the Kennedy Library, where it will be displayed from September 12, 2001, through February 28, 2002. In making the announcement, Philippe de Montebello, Director of the Metropolitan Museum, noted: "It is appropriate indeed that the Metropolitan, an institution with which Jacqueline Kennedy enjoyed profoundly close ties, should celebrate the timeless impact of her extraordinary, unforgettable grace and style. It was Mrs. Kennedy who personally chose the Temple of Dendur, now a centerpiece of the Met's collections, as Egypt's gift to the United States. She was an important part of our institutional life, and it is a great honor to pay tribute to her with this exploration of her impact on the culture of fashion."

To mark the occasion, the Museum's renowned Costume Institute Benefit Gala, also known as the Party of the Year, will be moved from its traditional December date to Monday, April 23, 2001, to celebrate the opening of the exhibition. Caroline Kennedy, president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, and her husband Edwin A. Schlossberg, will be Honorary Chairs of the Gala.

Co-chairs of the Gala will be: Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, who will serve as a chair for the fourth time; Lindsay Owen-Jones, Chairman & CEO of L'Oréal S.A. and his wife Cristina; Oscar and Annette de la Renta; and Carolina Herrera. The corporate chairs for the event are Guy Peyrelongue, President & CEO of L'Oréal USA and his wife Lucile.

Mr. de Montebello announced further that Hamish Bowles, European editor-at-large of Vogue, will serve as creative consultant to the exhibition. Mr. Bowles has taken a leave of absence from the magazine to work on mounting the exhibition. Mr. Bowles will also edit and contribute to an exhibition catalogue, which will be published next spring to coincide with the opening of the show.

"Jacqueline Kennedy is one of history's great style icons," said Mr. Bowles. "Her profound influence on the way an entire generation wanted to look, dress, and behave cannot be overestimated. 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. She galvanized both the fashion world and the fashion press – Hollywood's preeminent designer, Edith Head, called her 'the greatest single influence [on fashion] in history' – and Women's Wear Daily coined the phrase 'Her Elegance' to denote her sovereign sway over the industry.

"Her influence as First Lady was primal and pervasive," Mr. Bowles continued, "both in the national consciousness and on the international stage, and has proved 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."

In exploring all of the dimensions of her style legacy, Mr. Bowles noted, the exhibition will feature clothing worn by Jacqueline Kennedy on the campaign trail, during the inaugural festivities, at the White House itself, and on state visits around the world. The exhibition will acknowledge and investigate the profound impact of Jacqueline Kennedy's image, which dominated the last four decades of the 20th century and remains a continuing influence on our own.

Highlights will include keynote pieces from this period, including the fawn coat and celebrated pillbox hat, worn for the inaugural ceremonies on the steps of the Capitol on January 20, 1961; the regal ivory satin gown worn to the pre-Inaugural gala; the red dress worn for the televised tour of the White House on February 14, 1962; and a large group of formal evening clothes worn at the White House for state dinners, political entertaining, and cultural events.

Also featured will be many of the clothes worn by Mrs. Kennedy on state visits, including extensive elements from her solo trip to India and Pakistan in 1962, and the Kennedys' visit to South America in 1961. Other historic pieces will include the beaded gown in which she dazzled Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna in 1961, and, from her visit to France, also in 1961, the imperial dress and opera coat worn to President de Gaulle's state dinner at the Palace of Versailles. From her visit to Rome will come the austere black dress worn for her audience with Pope John XXIII.

According to Mr. Bowles, the costumes vividly illustrate that, as First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy's personal style choices were to prove a visual metaphor for her cultural aspirations for the White House. Under her aegis, it would become an exquisite and stylish showplace, and a background for a worldly and sophisticated mix of guests drawn from the realms of arts and culture as well as national and world politics and diplomacy.

In this way, Jacqueline Kennedy's personal style was a timely continuum, bridging the divide that then separated the old world from the new, the values of assured patrician elegance with the "youthquake" of energy, dynamism, and forward-thinking modernity of the later 1960s. She emerges in Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years—Selections from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum as at once a paradigm of old-fashioned dignity, and an eternal cultural icon.

The exhibition will be presented in the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall on the second floor of the Museum.

A book, Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years―Selections from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, edited by Hamish Bowles with texts by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Hamish Bowles, will be published to coincide with the exhibition. Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art with Bulfinch Press (which will distribute the hardcover edition to the trade), the 208-page book – also available in paperback in the Museum's bookshops – will include more than 150 full-color and black-and-white illustrations, combining documentary and new photography.



L'Oréal is delighted and honored to join The Metropolitan Museum of Art in presenting Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years--Selections from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, an exhibition organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, Boston.

At L'Oréal, the world's leading beauty company, commitment to the community is one of our highest priorities. In addition to support for outreach programs, women's health and wellness, and youth education and development, our company is dedicated to the arts, which is why we take such great pride in the support of this exhibition.

The exhibition, which marks the fortieth anniversary of Jacqueline Kennedy's emergence as America's first lady, provides an intimate perspective into the life of one of America's most notable women of the twentieth century. Mrs. Kennedy brought elegance, intelligence, and cultivated taste to all that she did. Design and the arts were arguably her greatest passions, which is why this exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art is so resonant.

Featured in the exhibition are more than eighty original costumes, including many of the pieces Mrs. Kennedy wore during her historic visit to Paris in 1961 with her husband, President Kennedy. The cordial and warm relationship she developed with Charles de Gaulle, then president of France, is part of the lore of that time and is often credited with helping to renew French-American relations.

Great beauty and great art are things to be cherished and enjoyed. In supporting Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years--Selections from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, L'Oréal hopes to focus attention on an extraordinary time in the life of Jacqueline Kennedy -- a woman who remains an icon of beauty, style and culture.



Condé Nast Publications is proud to join L'Oréal as sponsors of the landmark exhibition Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years--Selections from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum.

This celebration of Jacqueline Kennedy's style and substance as First Lady continues a happy association with the subject that began half a century ago. In 1951, the twenty-one-year-old Jacqueline Bouvier won Vogue's Prix de Paris competition with an entry that included a plan for an issue of the magazine with fashion and editorial stories based on the theme of Nostalgia and an essay on three people she would most have liked to meet: Charles Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde, and Sergei Diaghilev.

A decade later, when as Jacqueline Kennedy she became the country's third youngest First Lady, she would bring these same affinities for history, high style, and poetic imagination into the national arena, and in turn present to the world an image of America that was sophisticated, worldly, and intelligent.

We are honored to celebrate the consummate style, grace, and vision of this extraordinary woman.



Hamish Bowles is recognized as one of the most respected authorities in the worlds of fashion and interior design. He is currently creative consultant at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with responsibility for organizing and mounting the upcoming Costume Institute exhibition Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years--Selections from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum. He is editor of the catalogue accompanying the exhibition.

Born in England in 1963, Mr. Bowles was educated at Saint Martin's School of Art and Design. He began his career at London's Harpers & Queen magazine in 1984, working as fashion editor and rising to style director in 1989. He left London in 1992 to join American Vogue in New York, where he serves as European Editor-at-Large. Mr. Bowles has taken a leave of absence from the magazine to work on the exhibition.

Since the early 1990s, Mr. Bowles has been an internationally renowned arbiter of style and design. In that role, he draws on the history of costume and haute couture to advocate understanding and appreciation of contemporary fashion and style development. His fascination has led him to amass a private collection of clothing by the world's greatest couturiers, from Charles Frederick Worth to John Galliano. As a lender to The Costume Institute, he took part in The Metropolitan Museum of Art's exhibitions Madame Grès (1994), Haute Couture (1995), and Christian Dior (1996). He organized, with Diana Edkins, a photographic complement to the exhibition Haute Couture that was on view at the Gagosian Gallery from December 1995 through March 1996 after an initial showing during the Costume Institute benefit on December 4, 1995. He also lent significant support to organizing works by English designers for the Fashion Institute of Technology's exhibition Fashion and Surrealism (1987), organized by the late Richard Martin with Harold Koda and Laura Sinderbrand. His keen eye and sense of style have also contributed to the success of charitable events, such as Seventh on Sale, a benefit for AIDS, and for the New York City Opera.

Mr. Bowles has written for and contributed to countless articles, reviews, and books on fashion history, art, lifestyle, and interior design. His lectures include "The Dandy" (1984) at The Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and "The Newest Art" (1998) and "The American Century: America's Fashion Ascendancy and Its Roots" (1999) at New York University.

Mr. Bowles resides both in Manhattan and Paris.



By Hamish Bowles, with essays by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Rachel Lambert Mellon, and Hamish Bowles

This year, 2001, marks the fortieth anniversary of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy's emergence as America's first lady. This captivating book explores her enduring global influence on style and fashion, along with her other accomplishments in the White House, many of which broadened the nation's awareness of art, culture, and historic preservation.

The book takes an in-depth look at her clothes and her era, demonstrating how Jacqueline Kennedy became a beacon of style whose legacy is still with us today. On its pages, dozens of gowns, suits, dresses, and accessories from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum are beautifully reproduced in full color against a backdrop of personal notes, artifacts, and anecdotes provided by such White House insiders as the historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. and the horticulturist (and friend of the first lady) Rachel Lambert Mellon.

Combining original and new photography, the volume presents images of the first lady that have rarely been seen, as well as photographs that have become an indelible part of the national consciousness. This unique perspective on the Kennedys' White House years reveals the impact Jacqueline Kennedy had on the world, on America's vision of itself, and on the role played by the first lady in the life of the nation.

The book accompanies a major exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, on view from May through July 2001. The show will travel to the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston.

Hamish Bowles is European editor at large of Vogue and curator of the exhibition Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years--Selections from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum. Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. was special assistant to President Kennedy and is a historian and the author of numerous books, including A Thousand Days: A Life in the Twentieth Century: Innocent Beginnings, 1917-1950 (2000). Rachel Lambert Mellon is a garden designer and distinguished horticulturist. At the request of President Kennedy, she redesigned the Rose Garden at the White House. She also designed the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, which was dedicated by Lady Bird Johnson in 1965.

208 pages, with 346 illustrations, including 199 in full color, 9 x 12 in.

Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Clothbound, $50, ISBN 0-87099-981-8. Paperbound, $35, ISBN 0-87099-982-6.

Distributed by Bulfinch Press. Clothbound, $50, ISBN 0-8212-2745-98.

For further information on the book, please call: Gwen Roginsky, Associate General Manager of Publications, 212-650-2945.



The Metropolitan Museum of Art will offer a roster of special programs in conjunction with the exhibition Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years--Selections from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, which will be on view May 1 through July 29, 2001. The programs will include a special June 17 lecture by the Museum's guest curator for the exhibition, Hamish Bowles.

Within the exhibition galleries, five short videos--drawn from the extensive film and video archives of the John F. Kennedy Library and produced by The Metropolitan Museum of Art--will be shown on a continual basis. The videos include excerpts from the 1962 CBS national broadcast of A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy, along with footage of the presidential campaign, the inauguration, White House receptions, and state visits to Latin America, Europe, and South Asia. The videos show Mrs. Kennedy wearing many of the costumes and accessories featured in the exhibition, and document her involvement in the political and cultural issues of the Kennedy administration.

Public programs held in the Museum include a two-part subscription series in the Metropolitan's Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. A full screening of the landmark television broadcast A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy--first shown on Valentine's Day, February 14, 1962--will take place on May 11, with an on-stage introduction by Perry Wolff, who produced the program for CBS News. Author and White House curator Betty C. Monkman will speak on "The White House" on June 1. Tickets for the two 6:00 p.m. programs are $30--for information, call (212)570-3949.

A 30-minute documentary film, Jacqueline Kennedy's Asian Tour, also from 1962, will be screened on Saturday, May 26, in the Uris Center Auditorium. This celebratory program, a poetic chronicle of Mrs. Kennedy's solo tour of India and Pakistan in 1962, was produced by the United States Information Agency. The screening is free to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.

A lecture--"Defining Style: Jacqueline Kennedy's White House Years"--will be presented by Hamish Bowles, creative consultant to the exhibition and author of the accompanying catalogue, in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium on Sunday, June 17, at 3:00 p.m. This lecture is free with Museum admission.

An audio guide to the exhibition will be available for rental at the exhibition entrance ($5, $4.50 for Museum members). The audio guide is narrated by Philippe de Montebello, Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is produced by Antenna Audio and includes archival recordings of President and Mrs. Kennedy, as well as recorded interviews with Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Hubert de Givenchy, Oleg Cassini, Gustave Tassell, Mary McFadden, and Letitia Baldridge.

The Audio Guide is sponsored by Bloomberg.


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