[FASHION - KENNEDY, JACQUELINE] Archive of original fashion designs and sketches by Irwin Karabell for designer Oleg Cassini, many bearing notes and annotations by Mrs. Kennedy and including original fabric swatches.
New York: 1960-63. This important archive highlights the creative process that brought The Jackie Look into existence and includes elegant designs for gowns worn on official state visits in Paris and Canada, the clothing worn on the White House balcony that graced the cover of Life magazine, and various other newsworthy events. The archive comprises the following: three large format drawings in color on thick paper of evening gowns, each bearing notations by Mrs. Kennedy ("Make sure skirt is not too slinky," "change to classic Givenchy top - see my Versailles dress," "No mink..."), one of these drawings with two fabric swatches pinned in the margin, each drawing approximately 17 x 14 inches (43 x 35.5 cm); ten original sketches on paper or a thin onion-skin of various dresses, evening wear, etc., many with annotations by Mrs. Kennedy ("Very chic silhouette for short evening - must have it with a coat to go with it...," "adore this material"), several of these with original fabric swatches pinned to the drawings, these drawings each approximately 11 x 8 inches (28 x 22 cm); an autograph note from Mrs. Kennedy ("I've attached paper clips to material I like ... also enclosing some sketches ... try to have things that go together - a coat that can be worn over several dresses for instance..."); seven small original drawings by Cassini; an original Oleg Cassini box label addressed to "Mrs. John F. Kennedy/The White House/Washington, D.C."; and lastly the archive is completed by a large amount of contemporary clippings and archival material depicting Karabell's designs and Cassini's fashions in newspapers and magazines as well as numerous color magazine spreads showing Mrs. Kennedy in the finished clothing. Some wear from handling, a few short tears or creases to extremities and corners, some show through of former mounting adhesive, well preserved overall.
Provenance: Mr. Irwin Karabell (Cassini's design assistant and sketch artist 1960-68)
Exhibited: Portions of the archive were exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute's landmark 2001 exhibition Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years. Copies of correspondence with the Met included in the lot.
Literature: see Cassini, Oleg. A Thousand Days of Magic. Dressing Jacqueline Kennedy for the White House, 1995.
AN EXTRAORDINARY AND LARGELY UNPUBLISHED FASHION ARCHIVE which includes original drawings for the cream dress the First Lady wore on the September 1st, 1961 cover of Life magazine, for the pink gown worn at a dinner during the Kennedy's state visit to Canada in February 1961, for the yellow suit and pillbox hat worn during an official state luncheon with French President Charles De Gaulle and others. The archive is notable for the inclusion of many original fabric swatches offering a tangible element to this fine group of designs with Mrs. Kennedy's annotations. These include a large fabric sample for the pink and white straw-lace dress worn by the First Lady at a dinner at the Élysée Palace in Paris, a large sample of a dark coat worn during a ceremony in Canada in 1961, and a sample of the yellow suit and pillbox hat worn in Paris mentioned above. Karabell also oversaw the two workrooms that made Mrs. Kennedy's clothing (one for day wear and the other for evening gowns) and drew the sketches that the news media, ravenous for stories on the fashionable First Lady, would print whenever the Kennedy's travelled officially (the archival materials here, as curated by Karabell, would be very difficult to reproduce today). Worthy of future research and institutional attention, this archive offers an unpublished glimpse into The Jackie Look and no such archive relating to the First Lady's working relationship with Cassini's atelier has ever been offered at auction.
Additional Note: This archive is sold by agreement between Irwin Karabell and Cassini, Inc.
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