Jackie Onassis topped the best dressed list for 3 years running from 1961 to 1963. Oleg Cassini told The Register-Guard in 1995, "In effect, I was handed a script (also known as 'A Thousand Days of Magic'). I saw this as a play on Broadway, only here my job was to dress Jacqueline Kennedy for the leading role. It was an extraordinary opportunity; Jackie was going to be seen by the entire world. I realized this was my chance to establish the 'look' at the very beginning. I tried in my mind to see the inauguration (on January 20, 1961) as a scene in a movie. I said to myself, 'Well, all these other ladies are going to wear fur coats, and they will look like big grizzly bears, everyone of them. I am going to have Jackie look like a young, beautiful, simple thing, so fresh, so pretty, so unpretentious." 

'Camelot' was the 1960 Broadway musical set in the period after the Roman Empire had left the British Isles in 410 AD. 'Camelot' was about the mythical King Arthur who led the Celtic warriors against the invading Saxon barbarians and restored Britain to peace, stable government and Christian worship. 'Camelot' was also about the relationship between King Arthur, Queen Guinevere and the knight Sir Lancelot. 

Oleg credited Jackie for "singlehandedly created Camelot." He had insisted, "I didn't want to create dresses for the sake of creating dresses, and the first 2 or 3 outfits that appeared were saluted by everybody. Even the French recognized that a new look had been born." In May 1961, Jackie accompanied Jack to Paris to meet with Charles de Gaulle for 3 days for Western strategy talks. Jackie's presence was said "had transformed what might have been a routine state function (at the Palace of Versailles - Hall of Mirrors; Quai d'Orsay and Elysee Palace) into a glamorous event worthy of being 5-starred in diplomatic chronicles." Parisians were reportedly delighted to acclaim the American First Lady as one of their own because of her French ancestry (dating back to 1758 to Andre Eustache Bouvier of Grenoble in southern France) and Jackie's fluency in French." Jack told Charles de Gaulle French was "the language of free men." It was reported during her marriage to Aristotle Onassis, Jackie spent $30,000 a year on clothes, mostly French imports. 

Mary Barelli Gallagher told the world in 1969, "I do believe that it was Jacqueline's wit, as much as anything, that set her apart from the crowd of girls who would gladly have married Jack Kennedy. Jacqueline has a freshness of expression, and a sort of let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may attitude that can be devastating or funny, depending on which side of the joke you are on." 

Mary believed, "Once in a generation does a woman possess such magnetism that the world is spellbound by her, seeing only what she wants it to see. And even when the spell is broken, people still wonder: they still ask what actually happened, what is Jackie Kennedy really like? What was real, and what was the dream? I can tell you that not everything was as it seemed. I know, because for 8 incredible years (1953-1960) I lived in Jackie's world as her Personal Secretary, before, during, and after John F. Kennedy entered the White House." 

Valentino Garavani had worked for Jean Desses and Guy Laroche told Marylou Luther of the Los Angeles Times in 1983, "Private customers (such as Jackie Onassis) no longer influence my design. " Approaching 50, Valentino continued, "When you are young, you have in mind a typical beautiful woman. No more do I have such a symbol in my head. I try always to make women beautiful, but now I am more interested in my own style, my own ideas. I must like the clothes, not just the ideal of the clothes as personified by one woman."

Insisting revolutions were for politics, not for fashion, Valentino made the point, "Maybe a small firm can still make a revolution with a crazy collection that makes no sense. Or one merely to impress the press. But no responsible, established firm would do that today (in 1983). There is no longer a market for strange and extravagant things. More and more, fashion is evolutionary. Everything has been done before. This is the time for the comebacks of experience, of class, of flawless cutting, of good materials, of fine workmanship. This is not a time for folklore in fashion. A woman dressed as a Peruvian peasant in today's (1983) world is ridiculous, especially if she's sitting in a Louis XVI or Napoleon III room.

"One must observe women in environments, because today (in 1983) there is no luxury in folklore, grand opera, or costume fashion. In Italy, I believe I have the most important workrooms and fantastic fitters. But after they're 58, they want to retire. And their assistants – some of whom have been trained since they were little girls – say they do not want their jobs. Even though the salaries are high, they say they do not want the responsibility. It is a big problem."

Valentino "thank God the economy has not affected my customers' demand for quality. I can still make clothes in the tradition of women who demand silk tissue paper sleeping in the folds of their garments when packed in brass-hinged luggage."

Back in 1961, Antoine of Paris told the Associated Press, "…(Jackie) must change styles constantly to keep pace with fashion, like every other fashionable woman. Her wardrobe of yesterday will be dated tomorrow, so the average housewife and working girl cannot afford to copy her changing styles which vary from month to month. American working girls and housewives do not have a social life from morning until night as the President's wife does. They must be themselves and adjust their wardrobes and coiffures to suit their own needs."

Blog Archive