As I continue to tie up loose ends around the place–clearing brush down by the crick, taking care of the larvae infestation in the chicken coop–sights were turned to the Jackie door. Not really her door but a door saluting the sensationalist tabloid school of journalism that made her a household name. And kept her that way for decades.
The Baader-Meinhof color scheme of steel gray and neon yellow did not flatter the former First Lady. To her credit, I didn’t hear a peep. She’s never been one to complain.
The real problem was the veneer molding on a roll, fake wood crap used to section off the articles. It had about 20 coats of paint on it because I could never get the color even. By the time I gave up it was buckling and warped.
Poor Mrs. O had to live with it for a year and a half. I felt if she can survive having her husband’s head blown up in her face, or being held captive on a remote island by a pot-gutted Greek thug for five years, she could handle a little adversity in home decor.
Her patience has paid dividends. Now she’s all dolled up and ready for dinner at La Grenouille followed by a frolic in the backroom at Studio 54.
The new presentation is reminiscent of the mid-century, tutti frutti pieces Cartier made with precious stones. Which brings to mind one of the great stories of 20th Century Jewelry.
The Duchess of Windsor was a client of Cartier and had a few of these multi-colored pieces. Many of her jewels were custom made from stones given to the Duke when he was Prince of Wales. Technically they were given to the people of the United Kingdom but the Duke appropriated them anyway. As royals are wont to do.
The Duchess wore one of her original necklaces for the first time to a Paris Ball in 1957. Her bib was the talk of the night and met with universal acclaim from everyone she encountered. Including the Maharani of Baroda.
The Maharani possessed one of the world’s largest private collections of jewelry and had an encyclopedic knowledge of precious stones. She studied the necklace carefully for a few moments then expressed her admiration. She specifically remembered the emeralds. They’d once been part of anklets she wore.
The Duchess stormed home from the Ball, put the necklace back in its case and never wore it again. I’m sure the Duke was browbeaten that night for letting her make such a fool of herself. Probably for the rest of his life as well.
The idea that her anointed-by-god jewels had once adorned the feet of another woman was just too much for the Duchess. And a non-white woman to boot.
It’s this depth of thought and feeling that characterizes the House of Windsor even to this day.
2 thoughts on “Jackie Gets a Facelift”
Very interesting. I think you have material there for your doctoral dissertation: Jackie O and the tabloids. Might I suggest the monograph be coffee-table sized? I’ll order one, promise..
It’s been a while since I’ve thought of post-graduate work. But if photo essays are now an accepted format for submission, I may be able to come up with something groundbreaking for your coffee table.