Classic American Style: Carolyn Bessette Kennedy

Carolyn Bessette Kennedy by Bruce Weber-Vanity Fair Sept  1999 
I have recently read that after she graduated from the University of Boston, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy worked as a salesperson in a Calvin Klein store in Boston and eventually became a publicist at the brand’s headquarters in New York City. That her natural instinct for chic was nurtured at CK does not surprise me at all, as I think Calvin Klein’s minimalist aesthetic suited Carolyn’s patrician beauty and bearing only too well. She may not have been a classic beauty, with her long nose, Marlene Dietrich eyebrows, big blue eyes and high cheekbones, but she was an interesting, real beauty, giving off an incredible charm and grace. With her shimmering blonde hair, no-makeup makeup and red lips, slender silhouette and clean, simple, refined style, she always made an elegant and lasting statement, that didn’t lack emotional resonance. Her smart attractiveness sprung from self-assurance, which felt very calming and unpretentious, and nothing about her felt overworked. A standard of classic, cool, casual American style.

I especially chose only photographs from one photo shoot (by Bruce Weber for Vanity Fair) for this post, because I love how natural, full of laughter and tenderness, she looks. She doesn’t seem to be aware of the camera. Carolyn Bessette Kennedy-Bruce Weber is another association I find very natural – Weber’s photography is surrounded by a well-defined mystique, something that is true in Carolyn’s case as well.
Carolyn Bessette Kennedy by Bruce Weber-Vanity Fair Sept  1999-1Classic American Style-Carolyn Bessette Kennedy '
The quote in the photo above reads: “She was a touch-and-feel person. When you talked to her, one-to-one, she’d touch your arm, grab your hand in a sort of affectionate way. She was much better in a small group of people. So you take the looks, the charm, the style, and that wonderful voice and sense of humour and incredible warmth and love of conversation – she was the best company you could ever have.” Paul Wilmot

Carolyn Bessette Kennedy by Bruce Weber Vanity Fair September 1999

Carolyn Bessette Kennedy by Bruce WeberClassic American Style-Carolyn Bessette Kennedy-1
,“She chooses simple, severe looks that not everyone would wear. She knows how to set off her beauty with clothes. That’s a rare gift.” Tom Ford
photos: Bruce Weber for Vanity Fair, September 1999

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