Oleg Cassini

Oleg Cassini, his influence on fashion.

In 1960 Oleg Cassini became the Principal State robe designer chosen by Jacqueline Kennedy, who knew him for years. His solid training in art and his long experience in Hollywood served him well. Cassini created the new image for the First Lady, which became the first memorable fashion line to emerge on TV sets across the world. Cassini’s experience with Hollywood cameras gave him the important knowledge of how the clothing would look on the screen, being photographed from a distance. That’s how Jacqueline Kennedy’s wardrobe was created by Cassini with the emphasis on geometric clarity of lines, pronounced color, sumptuous fabrics, and even the big buttons.


For the President Kennedy’s Inauguration in 1961, Cassini dressed the First Lady in a fawn beige wool coat with a small sable collar and a matching pillbox hat. Cassini may have seen pictures of the First Lady of Mexico wearing a pillbox hat a year earlier, but Mrs. Kennedy was the first one to be seen on every TV in the world. Soon, it seemed, women all over the world followed the First Lady’s image. In 1963 the world saw another pink pillbox hat by Cassini on Mrs. Kennedy, when she was next to the President when he was assassinated. In less than 3 years Cassini created about three hundred outfits for the First Lady. His creativity was inspired by Russian, Italian, French, Oriental, and Native American cultures.

Cassini is credited for such design accomplishments as the sheath, the A-line, the little white collar dress, the knit, and the military look for women. He claimed credit for introducing the Nehru Jacket in 1966-67, based on a traditional Indian jacket and named after the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Cassini also designed a Johnny Carson line of men’s suits. His collection of Jacquelin Kennedy’s dresses was displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2001. Some pieces of her wardrobe were sold at auction houses.

Oleg Cassini died on March 17, 2006, on Long Island, New York, where he had an Oyster Bay home. He was arguably the oldest famous fashion designer in the world.

(Tanx to S.Shelokhonov  – IMBD)