A Closer Look At Carolyn Bessette Kennedy


















"Carolyn has fabulous modern style." Anna Wintour.

"She chooses simple, severe looks that not everyone would wear. She knows how to set off her beauty with clothes. That's a rare gift." Tom Ford

"She has the look of the '90s. She is not a label girl. Everything that she wore looked fabulous on her." Karl Lagerfeld.  

How can one describe perfection? How can one describe timeless glamor? Carolyn Bessette Kennedy had all the ingredients of a fashion icon; she was tall, slim, blessed with flawless porcelain complexion, and shimmering blond hair, almost always sleekly pulled back. The ill-fated heiress to Camelot appeared effortlessly aristocratic, a result of growing up in the privileged circles of Greenwich, Connecticut.
If anyone was born to carry on the style legacy of JFK Jr.'s mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, it was the graceful Carolyn.
Never had she let her clothes wear her. She knew exactly what she liked and never apologized for being quintessential... She had an aura of poise and blue-blooded essence, the kind that will only be remembered and immortalized. During her reign as New York's queen, she elevated American style to the highest level. Her wardrobe was seemingly simple... Neutral suits, plain black dresses, black leather jackets, loafers... Basically the kind that dreams were made of. Her face was adorned with classic red lipstick, and with as little jewelery as possible, (because who needs bling when you have John John as a hubby). Her hair, naturally light brown, was transformed to glimmering flaxen perfection by New York stylist Brad Johns, "The King of Blondes."
Her look has been described as "throwaway chic" - the kind of style that mixes a Gap T-shirt with a Calvin Klein jacket. Designer Michael Kors lauded her for expertly mixing high and low couture, grunge and glam, into a winning, ultra-modern aesthetic cocktail.



Narciso Rodriguez's profile skyrocketed when she wore one of his creations for her wedding -a simple, sexy white column dress with draped neckline. Such famed names as Prada and Yohji Yamamoto were also staples of her carefully curated wardrobe. Bessette Kennedy's instinct for chic was nurtured at Calvin Klein when she worked there. Bessette Kennedy was the personification of the designer's minimalist aesthetic. But it wasn't just what she wore, it was the way she wore it. What I truly adored about her was that she can carry any look; and you can never anticipate her next move. If she was alive today, I'd want to think that she would evolve her style to stay current yet classic just like her spirit.


Donatella Versace has a beautiful story about Carolyn...When John was starting George, he was coming to Milan a lot and stopped in Gianni's office very often. But I first met Carolyn about four years ago, when she came to Milan with John and spent time with me and Gianni on Lake Como. She was very similar to my brother, both entertainers. Gianni would usually go to bed very early, but Carolyn kept him up. Of course, I was a little envious of her, too -who wouldn't be? She said, "I'm never going to give up my friends, but at the same time, I will be the best wife for John." She said John had a completely open mind about her fashion friends, who were different from his friends. He adored her personality, her outlook on life.
Any entrance Carolyn made, she made a statement. Apart from the clothes she wore, she had a way of moving her head and smiling, and her eyes were so expressive, she would always seem to be looking right at you. I thought that if anyone could take the place of his mother in the family, it could be her. After Gianni died, we went to a beautiful dinner at the home of Countess Crespi. You couldn't smoke inside it, so Carolyn and I went upstairs and smoked in the balcony outside, and then we couldn't get back in. The door had locked. John finally came by looking for her and he let us out.
Recently, I saw her in my shop on Fifth Avenue. I said, "Carolyn, what are you doing here?" I never saw her more happy. She was full of projects. I was making fun of her, saying, "What do you do all day, sit at home just waiting for the next party? That's not you." She said, "You just wait and see."


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