Last year we wrote a post about Jackie Kennedy & her fondness for Marimekko frocks, now I don’t want to claim that we inspired a Berlin museum to create an exhibit surrounding Jackie’s dresses called “The Spirit of a Dress” (because we probably didn’t) but could have.
Whatever their inspiration, Jackie’s brightly colored shift dresses became a part of her political statement. Originally purchased for the 1960’s U.S. Presidential Election; the dresses represented Jackie’s accessibility and youthful charm which was relatable for the American women. The bold nature of the clothing also reflected an optimistic vision for the future. Her legacy lives-on even today as Michelle Obama makes her own stylish stamp, rousing that same feeling of adoration and relate-ability.
A concise yet diligently researched exhibition, curator of the Kennedys Museum in Germany, Alina Heinze, collaborated with Marimekko to create a unique six-piece dress display and photo history. Blogger from Irenebrination: Notes on Architecture, Art, Fashion & Style was able to score an interview with curator Heinze, check out some of what she had to say:
What fascinates about the main theme of this exhibition?
Alina Heinze: Jackie Kennedy was the first person in politics who used fashion to express certain things and to achieve certain reactions. During the campaign in 1960, Jackie Kennedy knew that it was important to reach out to the voters and establish a connection with them. She expressed this through the choice of her clothes. She wore dresses with simple cuts and hardly any jewelry. So the woman who grew up in wealthy surroundings became less inapproachable for the voters. Her style was simple and classic but still exclusive. Jackie Kennedy managed to connect with the people and her style played an import and part. At The Kennedys Museum you can get an in-depth insight of how Jackie Kennedy became a style icon and why she still is.
How many pieces are showcased in this event?
Alina Heinze: There are six dresses on display for the exhibition. All six were chosen from Marimekko by Jackie Kennedy for the presidential campaign in 1960. One of the dresses was originally worn by Jackie Kennedy. Two of the dresses are from that time. Three of the dresses she chose were reproduced from the fabric of that time for the exhibition. In addition to the dresses four different patterns of Marimekko from the early’60s are on display. They complement the dresses and illustrate that bright colours were on the rise.
What would you say Marimekko’s prints represented for Jackie Kennedy – freedom, modernity, the spirit of those times?
Alina Heinze: Jackie Kennedy chose to wear adequate and modest clothes that were nevertheless precious but would not dissociate her from American women during that time. She was pregnant with John Jr. in 1960 but, apart from that, she always preferred to wear loose cut dresses. Marimekko’s dresses were tailored just that way. But this was not the only important thing to Jackie Kennedy: the fashion label was nearly unknown in the U.S. in 1960 and that made those simple dresses really exclusive.
This week the news was focused on President Obama’s second inauguration, and his wife was once again under the spotlight from a fashionable point of view: in your opinion, how has the First Lady’s attire changed in the last few decades?
Alina Heinze: The significance of Michelle Obama’s style is that she remains true to herself. Like Jackie Kennedy whose style developed from her being a student to becoming first lady, but always stayed classic and special. I see the same for Michelle Obama.
So far what kind of feedback did you get from the visitors?
Alina Heinze: Jackie Kennedy is always a topic that interests people throughout the generations. Most of the visitors are fascinated by her classic and modest style and political impact. While walking through the permanent exhibition of the museum they get an idea that there are bright colors hidden in the black and white photos of Jackie Kennedy. Those vivid shades highlighted in the exhibition are exactly what excites the visitors the most.
To read more about the exhibit visit the Kennedys Museum website.
Photos and interview via Irenebrination: Notes on Architecture, Art, Fashion & Style blog