Opening today at the LBJ Library — “The First Ladies Collection” of Madame Alexander dolls. Shown here are two of the dolls that will be on display, Jaqcueline Kennedy and Lady Bird Johnson, both dressed in their inaugural gowns.
The dolls will be on display in the Great Hall of the LBJ Library through November.
Yesterday, fashion designer Lilly Pulitzer passed away at the age of 81. According to the Lilly Pulitzer website, Pulitzer’s famous “Lilly dress” became a phenomenon when Pulitzer’s former classmate, Jacqueline Kennedy, was photographed wearing one of her dresses whilst on vacation.
As Pulitzer once said, “Jackie wore one of my dresses — it was made from kitchen curtain material — and people went crazy. They took off like zingo. Everybody loved them, and I went into the dress business.”
The Yalta Conference Cloak
The photos of the Big Three at the Yalta Conference are well-known, but have you ever looked closely at what FDR was wearing?
In contrast to the double-breasted coats worn by Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt wore a distinctive wool and velvet cloak during his trip to the Crimea, Ukraine, in February 1945.
The garment is a U.S. Navy regulation officer’s boatcloak. President Roosevelt’s was made at the Naval Clothing Depot at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York City in August 1942. It is a standard officer’s boatcloak, ordered and unaltered for FDR’s use.
The cloak is designed to be worn during movement by a boat to protect the wearer from the cold and his clothing from the effects of spray. It opens at the front and is fitted with two frogs (knotted lengths of braided cord), which engage to secure the cloak closed. The relative ease with which such a cloak could be put on and taken off made wearing it an attractive alternative to a more conventional garment—especially for someone whose ease of movement was hampered by the effects of polio.
Roosevelt wore similar boatcloaks during other trips he made during his Presidency. The image of FDR in these cloaks is one of the most enduring of the war years.
-from the FDR Library
First Lady Pink
Did your grandmother’s house have a pink bathroom? You might be able to blame Mamie Eisenhower, who made the color extremely popular when she became First Lady in 1953.
During the next 8 years, Mamie would be listed among the “10 best-dressed women.” Her favorite color was pink and she wore it often. She also decorated her home in pink. The color of this gown, which she wore to President Eisenhower’s Inaugural Ball, was officially called “First Lady Pink.”
Mamie’s many years as an Army wife affected her feelings toward fashion. Although she always looked put together in her dresses, hats, and gloves, she was very mindful of her budget and did not worry about looking trendy. “Knowing what to look for and how to tell a lasting fashion from a temporary fad has always helped me to shop intelligently,” she wrote to editors at the 1954 Fashion Press Week.
Mamie Geneva Doud was born on this day, November 14, 1896.
Just in case you still haven’t decided on a proper chapeau for the Kentucky Derby…
We now present to you a Flickr collection from the Truman Library all about hats.
The Library has many photos of First Lady Bess Truman wearing hats, and the archivists culled their holdings for images of men and women in history wearing hats.
According to Bess’s best friend, Mary Paxton, “Bess had more stylish hats than the rest of us did, or she wore them with more style…” Here’s a photo of the BFFs, Bess and Mary in 1901. Bess is on the left, wearing a hat with a large ruffle and feather.
What the bride wore - Jacqueline Bouvier’s ivory silk wedding gown required 50 yards of ivory silk taffeta and took more than two months to make.
It was the creation of Ann Lowe, an African-American dress-maker born in Grayton, Alabama, who had designed gowns for the matrons of high society families. Ms. Lowe was 54 when she designed the Bouvier wedding dress, which featured a portrait neckline and bouffant skirt decorated with interwoven bands of tucking and tiny wax flowers. She also designed the pink faille silk gowns and matching Tudor caps worn by the bridal attendants.
Jacqueline wore her grandmother’s heirloom rosepoint lace veil, attached to her hair with a small tiara of lace and traditional orange blossoms. She also wore a single strand of family pearls, a diamond leaf pin, which was a wedding present from Ambassador and Mrs. Joseph P. Kennedy, and a diamond bracelet the groom had presented to her the evening before the wedding. She carried a bouquet of white and pink spray orchids and gardenias. Jacqueline Kennedy’s oral history interviews from 1964 will be published this week after being sealed from the public by her request.
Jacqueline wore her grandmother’s heirloom rosepoint lace veil, attached to her hair with a small tiara of lace and traditional orange blossoms. She also wore a single strand of family pearls, a diamond leaf pin, which was a wedding present from Ambassador and Mrs. Joseph P. Kennedy, and a diamond bracelet the groom had presented to her the evening before the wedding. She carried a bouquet of white and pink spray orchids and gardenias.
Jacqueline Kennedy’s oral history interviews from 1964 will be published this week after being sealed from the public by her request.
Happy birthday Oscar de la Renta! The American fashion designer’s gowns have graced a long list of First Ladies including Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Laura Bush.
To celebrate de la Renta’s impact on First Ladies fashion, here’s an image of Hillary Rodham Clinton wearing an Oscar de la Renta gown while dancing with President Clinton. The occasion? Why, nothing less than a 1997 inaugural ball.
-from The Clinton Presidential Library
Grammy-winning artist Esperanza Spalding counts the Johnson Presidential Library as one of her favorite spots in Austin. When ELLE Magazine photographed Ms. Spalding for its August issue, she chose the LBJ Library for the shoot location. Here’s a snapshot taken by the Library staff in the Great Hall of the Johnson Library.
Psst, if you are interested in seeing the final fashion glossy photo, Ms. Spalding and the LBJ Library make their appearance on page 161.
-via the Johnson Library on Facebook