Few items of clothing are important enough to have earned a place in the world history books - Lady Diana's wedding dress, Marilyn Monroe's white dress blowing up in the ventilation draught and Monica Lewinsky's infamous stained blue dress spring to mind - but Jackie Kennedy's iconic pink suit has to be in there too, as the ill-fated outfit that she was wearing when her husband JFK was assassinated.
Nicole Mary Kelby's The Pink Suit barely touches on this tragic event though, giving it just a brief mention at the beginning. The book looks at the story behind the suit, focusing not on the presidential couple but the unknown characters working behind the scenes to bring the clothes into existence : the catwalk design-copiers at Chez Ninon and the backroom seamstresses putting them together, in particular central character Kate, an Irish immigrant who has come to a new land chasing her American dream - a dream that, some would (and do) say, is above her station.
It's a fascinating look at life in the States in the 1960's, particularly for the Irish immigrant community, revealing people's views on everything from the Kennedies, Martin Luther King, fashion and women's place in the world. Kate is a timeless heroine, trying to find her place in a world which wants to quash her dreams, caught between the values of the Old Country and the new emerging world.
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £14.99
Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.
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