When we talk about the relationship between fashion and the White House, the legacy of first lady Jackie Kennedy is front and center. Decades after her time in Washington, D.C., she has remained a style icon. One of her most memorable ensembles was the bright-pink suit she wore on the day her husband, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated. Older generations vividly recall November 22, 1963. For those who weren’t alive yet or old enough to remember, photos and videos fill in the gaps to provide a visual of Jackie O. and her blood-stained, pink tweed suit.
This moment will be portrayed (and reimagined) in Pablo Larraín's highly anticipated biopic, Jackie, starring Natalie Portman — and, once again, the titular character's pink suit will play a pivotal role in telling the story. In a new interview with The Cut, the film's costume designer, Madeline Fontaine, talked about the process of recreating garments that hold tremendous historical significance — and the role Chanel played in remaking them. For years, whether or not the first lady's outfit was authentic Chanel was still up for debate. Still, Fontaine was able to work closely with the fashion house on Portman's costume for the film, ensuring the update is indisputably on-brand. "When they saw the fabric, the color, and the way we made it, they agreed to give us the buttons, so it was a real achievement," Fontaine told The Cut. "And now they would like one for their archives." It took some hand-dyeing to recreate the precise shade of pink, the designer told The New York Times — but, once they got it right, five versions of the ensemble were produced.
In the hours following her husband's assassination, Mrs. Kennedy refused to remove her suit, which was now tinted red with her husband’s blood. She famously said, "Let them see what they’ve done." The outfit still remains in that blood-stained state today, stored in the National Archives. Portman also told The Cut about the forensic importance of the outfit, which helped her get into character for the scene. "It was wild to imagine the unimaginable, which she lived through," the actress explained. "She was basically wearing the evidence of what had happened." Check out the full profile over at The Cut.