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- October 19, 1981
- Vol. 16
- No. 16
Dressing the Part
To Depict the Fashionable First Lady, Jackie Smith Goes Through 83 Costume Changes.
Although Oleg Cassini was Kennedy's chief couturier, Travilla got the ABC job because he's a Hollywood pro. In fact, he dressed Loretta Young and Marilyn Monroe for the movies, and in 1949 his costumes for Errol Flynn and Viveca Lindfors in Adventures of Don Juan earned an Oscar.
For the current film, the designer studied old newsreels and snapshots. He chose favorite Kennedy colors (vibrant red, clear pink and white) and fabrics (linen and crepe). "He really knew the period and retained the style," says Smith. "His wardrobe helped me feel like Jackie." The size-6 star was so pleased that she kept one of the costumes, a $1,400 chiffon sheath that she wears in the show to her first state dinner. (The other outfits will be altered and recycled for use in future ABC productions.) While Travilla didn't quite match the $40,000-a-month clothing bills President Kennedy is said to have grumbled about, the network paid plenty for Smith's TV attire. Total cost: $150,000.
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