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That Mysterious Pink Chanel Suit of Jacqueline Kennedy

Updated on November 22, 2013
JFK shirt. Why can we see this yet not the Chanel suit?
JFK shirt. Why can we see this yet not the Chanel suit?
The sequence
The sequence

She died in 1993, yet the image everyone recalls is what she wore that November 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was murdered. A few shots from an WW2 rifle bought for $12 by Lee Harvey Oswald, would rip America apart from its Camelot.

Within seconds, happiness and cheers turned to an American horror story as Jacqueline Kennedy suddenly found herself engulfed with John's blood from a shot to the head, shattering his skull into pieces that no doubt fell onto her. The President's brain matter also splattered in the rear seat area. Happening so fast, Jackie had no time to even scream in horror. One minute the pink Chanel suit was pristine and spotless, the next, red with blood. She reacted trying to climb out of the rear seat only to be waved back in by secret service. Where was she going?

Jackie, in this horrific moment, climbed out in an attempt to get a piece of the president's skull that the bullet had ripped off.

Death is always hard to accept. One minute a loved one is fine, the next, they no longer exist and a void permeates with disbelief. For Jackie, she had little time to react in horror and astonishingly, her composure is scary. For the rest of that historic day, she refused to change out of the pink Chanel suit bought a new New York boutique. Despite many attempts to persuade her, she refused and wore the blood stained suit stating, "Let them see what they have done to Jack". Did she think there was more than one killer?

Clearly, not changing the suit was her way of making a statement, blood and brain matter on it and all.

Eventually, the pink suit was taken off but never cleaned. Her pillbox style hat that she wore has not been seen since 1964. The last person to see it was her secretary. Very few have seen the pink Chanel suit since 1963. As 1964 came, The Beatles arrived in the USA, something everyone under 25, at the time, welcomed. Sorrow left and happiness returned to a mourning America.

The suit she wore was simply stored for many years and kept within the family. As the years passed, so did interest in this clothing. Women's clothing styles changed, yet, it was not until 2003, that her daughter, Caroline Kennedy, now Ambassador to Japan, signed off legal rights to it to the National Archives.

The conditions are the mysterious thing. The paperwork indicates that the Archives will not display the clothing for another 100 years. Why? In another 25 years, most people alive in 1963 will be dead or very old, even if they were only 8 yrs; old at the time. None of Kennedy's will be alive.

To date, some think that not more than five people have seen her Chanel suit since 1963. Amazing.


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