now we know: if i hadn’t been doing a dissertation all this time, i apparently could have been producing ground-breaking albeit random celebrity/gossip/history/culture content every freaking day.
i was asked the other day if i thought if jackie, were she alive, would participate in the selfie culture. i think the question now becomes, if jackie were alive, would she wear a t-shirt with her own name on it?
and would she wear these clogs???
formal declaration from her biographer: um… no.
so gerard darel has a new jackie-inspired collection.
google translate seems uncertain as to whether this collection should be called “in the shoes of an icon”…
or “in the skin of an icon.”
personally, i’d go with the former because the latter is a little bit hannibal lector, non?
anyhoo, this collection is a tie-in to the exhibit “her name was jackie,” which stalked me all over paris last summer…
a somewhat wackily organized…
exhibit that i bummbled upon and which is now opening at the galerie ferraro in nice.
and which, fyi, does not begin to hold a candle to the exhibit at Museum THE KENNEDYS in berlin, entitled “jackie lady in the first place.”
with the possible exception of this:
“PROBABLY NEVER.” a phrase which, for anyone who’s ever done work on jackie at the JFK library, will send a dagger through yo heart.
incidentally, shout out to the fact-checkers at US:
it does truly seem to be “shoes” rather than “skin”…
so oops that.
ok, because i need to transition to the critical analysis portion of our programming, i will now ask- at the risk of positing a maloofianly demeaning line of inquiry: why jackie?
well, gerard darel is gerard and daniele darel and it seems daniele darel is a GIANT fan. in 1996, she bought a necklace at the soethby’s auction (in contrast, my fandom extended only so far as a catalog), and the company has subsequently sold a redesign.
much of the press for this line is in french, which is highly mad libs when run through google translate.
and so we are told that the collection “breathe the air sixties.” and we have some rather serious pronoun problems: because “jackie kennedy is an icon of style and elegance,” “its timeless looks continue to shape the codes of contemporary fashion,” bringing us “oversized sunglasses on the nose, glass bead necklace around his neck and little black dresses or colored by way of uniform, fashion model is copied again and again.”
“dressing casual chic feminine”!
an obvious mangling of the original, but i think the underlying argument is that her style belongs “in the ideal cloakroom” simply by virtue of the fact that it has endured.
but the subheader captures the tensions…
so 60s! (in parts)… timeless! (but modern)… all circumstances chic!
significantly, the collection itself is a pastiche of 60s and 70s jackie, but i’d argue it’s titling towards the 70s.
sure, the phrase “sixties” is being repeated multiple times, but this is obviously the aesthetic…
or even late 60s…
these shoes we’re walking in are distinctly 70s.
what does that matter? well, i think it points to some ongoing cultural strange.
we ❤ jackie. but culturally, we still do not ❤ her marriage to onassis. (as i continue to find out, the story of her marriage to onassis is a hard hard sell.) BUT. her aesthetic during the time of her marriage to onassis is still popular, still marketable, and still sellable.
it’s just that it’s repackaged in sixties nostalgia and she is positioned as a sixties figure.
seriously. ain’t nothing sixties about that font…
google image search “70s font”…
as opposed to 60s font…
and yes, that was some MAJOR phd-level research there.
but my point is this: why is there this skirting of the fact that 70s jackie rocked?
for reasons far more interesting than the commonly cited blah sixties reasons of “dignity,” “grace,” “chic.”
i don’t believe in decades so it pains me that i keep strictly delineating between the sixties and seventies. in actuality, it’s a split between her kennedy image and her onassis image- an equally crude definition because it’s dependent upon the men she married, but a more culturally accurate one as those are typically seen as two distinct images. and it gets at the fact that elements of her style from the period during which she was married to onassis are being sold under a kennedy guise.
or, seen the other way round, her kennedy magic is being grafted onto her onassis style to make it more palatable.
i’m nearly certain that “jackie lady in the first place” was an unfortunate translation of “jackie: a first lady,” but it captures the demands made upon her image in our culture now.
she is a LADY, firstly, and almost exclusively.
this is a demand that typically restricts portrayals of her to the period of her marriage to JFK or after ari’s death. hence the narrative black-out from october 1968-march 1975. hence also, i think, the need here to portray her 1970s style in terms of the 1960s, and to remind us of her “charm” and “elegance”- as though those were the limits of her interestingness.
this is how we sell clothes. i know that. what disturbs me is that i picked out the funny business at play in the marketing copy here because it mimics so much of the story-telling about her more generally in the last twenty years.
i’m in the business of telling lives. it’s a business that should be different from the business of selling clothes- with different tactics, different vocabularies, different tales. whether it is, i’m really not so sure.
we seem stuck always with the same old stories, the same old words, the same old jackie. that same jackie that i’ve been saying for years now is so, so boring. and, more importantly, SO MUCH LESS INTERESTING than the jackie i see.
when she was alive, the common complaint was that there was an excess of jackies. so many jackies that, in talking to her friends, you never knew which jackie you were going to get.
because when we are alive, we are all unlimited. our selves and our presentation of them can be infinite and varied. it’s death that applies limits.
evidently, in our responses to someone’s death, our cultural impulse is to streamline and simply the story, to make it meaningful and to make it make sense. but the result of this is that we make people far less interesting than they were in life. we limited them.
i do not approve. i want unlimited jackies, jackie’s as far as the eye can see. jackies that are messy and do not make sense or neatly align.