Saturday, May 11, 2013

Vanity Fair September 1999 : The Private Princess

Sometime in 1997 Carolyn posed for a series of photographs by Bruce Weber, commissioned by
John for their personal collection. After the pair's untimely death in 1999, Vanity Fair magazine published the photos, along with a short story editorial on Carolyn, as a post-humous tribute.

Cover of Vanity Fair September 1999 by Bruce Weber
The September 1999 issue coincided with the annual Style Issue, a celebration of the year's finest taste-makers and trendsetters in the world of style. Carolyn was the perfect fit for such an issue, having lead the pared down fashion pack of the late nineties, but it was also a somber issue marking some of the last photos we'd see of Carolyn.

As I mentioned above, these photos were taken in 1997 - when Carolyn's hair was at its blondest and her eyebrows were at their thinnest! Carolyn wore a black button down shirt and what looks like dark brown corduroys (she was often seen in this combination).

I think a lot of Carolyn fans will agree with me when I say that these are the best photos of Carolyn out there. I couldn't think of a better photographer than Bruce Weber to capture Carolyn's honest and playful personality. John and Carolyn's dog Friday even makes an appearance, along with some well-mannered puppies and birds! I especially love that photo of Friday placing his paw on Carolyn's back.

Unfortunately I don't have this magazine in my possession but I did manage to find a large image of the cover as well as some great scanned images (at the bottom of the post). Since I don't have it in my possession I'm not too sure of which order the photos go on but these are all of the ones I've gathered on the web from this shoot! Is there anyone out there with a copy who'd be willing to help organize these photos (or provide some well needed scans!)?

You can read the short article here and as always click "read more" to see the rest of the images!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

New Book : JFK Jr., George, and Me by Matt Berman

New book alert! It looks like we'll have another memoir to add to the already lengthy list of 'John and Carolyn' books. Matt Berman, once creative director of George magazine and close friend to John and Carolyn, is releasing a memoir entitled "JFK Jr., George, and Me".

It looks like this book will run in the same vein as RoseMarie Terenzio's "Fairy Tale Interrupted" - a recollection of life working with and without John, mostly during their tenure at George magazine.

I've posted a little blurb on the book below:
As John Kennedy Jr.'s creative director for George magazine, Matt Berman had a wonderfully collaborative and fun-loving relationship with America's favorite son—his story is told here with unprecedented candor and wit. The Kennedys—their poise, the family secrets, and their grace in the face of unimaginable tragedies—have captured the imagination and interest of the public for more than fifty years. Now, colleague and friend of JFK Jr., Matt Berman, offers us a unique look at John's life as both a professional and “regular guy.” 
When talented creative executive Matt Berman took a meeting with John Kennedy, Jr., in 1995, he was immediately hired to serve as George's creative director, thus beginning an unforgettable journey, both personal and professional. We follow Matt through his first days at the magazine as he navigated the choppy waters of what would be the most-talked-about magazine launch in history, helmed by a supremely confident and charming John. Wry and instantly likeable, Matt shares not only his own personal story of his relationship with John, but also valuable life and work lessons that he learned while working alongside him behind the scenes at George. But most importantly, through Matt's recollections, we see a John Kennedy that the public never got to know. Matt paints a vivid portrait of JFK Jr., that only a select few have ever seen, offering a touching and honest tribute to John's legacy.
The book is due to be released March 2014 (although publication dates are always up in the air) and is not long, at 288 pages. Strangely the e-book seems to have a release date of July 16 this year ... I don't know if that's a factual error but if it is true it's in pretty tacky taste.

From reading 'Fairy Tale Interrupted', Matt Berman was a close enough friend of Carolyn's so it'll be interesting to see if he'll write of any stories with her. Unfortunately I don't think we'll get to see any new pictures of C, seeing as how RoseMarie's book failed to deliver, and this book has a decidedly bigger focus on John.

I still find it curious that an art director of a long defunct magazine is getting his own book deal, and yet another former staffer of George magazine is penning a memoir in their early fifites ... but I guess it's the Kennedy factor. There will always be the ones who want to hear this story and I guess more people are coming forward to write it.

Matt Berman, to the left of John, in the George offices
On another note I recently bought RoseMarie's book and am almost finished reading it. I'll be posting a review on it soon. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

In Carolyn's Makeup Bag : Hair Products

I've already done a CBK Hair Evolution post, which showcased Carolyn in all her phases of blonde. Now I think I'll dig deeper to the root (pun so intended) to show you what products Carolyn used! Just like her pared down wardrobe, Carolyn stuck to basics when it came to her hair products.

To keep her famous blonde mane sleek and shiny it was Kiehl's Creme with Silk Groom. This item is a cult favourite of sorts today and can be used as a leave-in-conditioner or as a styling creme. I know Kiehl's makes really good anti aging products (I'm a big fan of their Ultra Facial Cream) so I'm sure this hair creme works wonders.

Carolyn at the Fire and Ice Ball (1998) / Kiehl's Creme with Silk Groom

She was also a fan of Philip Kingsley's hair products. Remember, when your'e not naturally Scandinavian blonde, all of that dying and bleaching really takes a toll on your scalp. Hence Philip K's Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner, to tame split ends and repair damage, as well as the Elasticizer to smooth and strengthen hair.

Philip K Elasticizer (~25.00), Philip Re-Moisturizing Shampoo

Monday, May 6, 2013

In Carolyn's Closet : Hermes Birkin Bag

Carolyn had a fondness for simple accessories and if there was hardware involved then it would often be gold. What better bag to personify this than the Hermes Birkin. The classic silhouette complemented Carolyn's simple style and her limited colour palette. It also proved to be seasonal, worn with anything from winter coats to summer whites.

CBK and her trusted Hermes Birkin

Now for a little fashion history on the Hermes Birkin. The bag was named after French chanteuse Jane Birkin after a chance encounter between the singer and the chairman of Hermes, Jean-Lous Dumas. The two were seated next to each other on an airplane. Jane spilled the contents of her basket-weave purse, the two discussed on a trans-Atlantic conversation about the quest for a perfect weekend bag. The Birkin was Dumas' answer. 

Jane Birkin and her storage alternatives

Although Jane later abandoned her namesake bag and returned to her trusted basket (old habits die hard!) the bag caught cult status and is today a symbol of wealth and status. 

Personally I'm not a fan of such a structured bag. Although I used to covet an item as iconic as the Birkin when I was younger the whole look is too business chic for me. Like Jane I prefer more simple alternatives when it comes to accessories. 

Here are some more images of Carolyn out with her Birkin bag.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Newman's Own George Awards Gala, 1999

What do you get when you throw together a cinema icon and a political lifestyle glossy? Why the Newman's Own/George Awards Gala of course.

Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward,
JFK Jr and Carolyn
On May 19 1999 Paul Newman and John hosted a gala for their respective companies, honouring philanthropic corporations in America. This event was the second annual gathering of Paul's food company "Newman's Own" and John's political magazine "George" ... oh and Carolyn tagged along!

Carolyn wore a ruffled Yohji Yamamoto jacket and pants, nude sandals and her black Comme des Garcons clutch.

I have to admit, I hated this outfit the first time I saw it. I just could not understand why Carolyn, with her refined style and preference for simple lines, would choose a ruffled coat of all things.

John and Carolyn at Newman's Own / George Awards, May 19 1999
But with a bit of time and a learned appreciation for Yohji Yamamoto's designs this has come to be one of my favourite looks on Carolyn! Yamamoto's brilliant craftmanship should be noted in this piece. He managed to beautifully fold ruffles on the front part of a jacket without it being overwhelming - and when have ruffles ever not been overwhelming?! Admittedly, I was never a big fan of this look but it has grown on me so much that its one of my favourite CBK outfits. Carolyn knew how to take risks without resorting to flashy trends, and always wore her looks with an intelligence that seems modern even today.

I've tried looking for runway pictures of this jacket but anything before 2000 is hard to find. It might even have been custom made for CBK. I'll update the post and let you know if I do find something! As always, click below the jump to see more pictures!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Secret's of Carolyn's Closet

A while ago a great reader tipped me off to an amazing article on some pieces from Carolyn's wardrobe. The article was in lieu of the publication of Fairy Tale Interrupted
Fairy Tale Interrupted
a memoir by JFK Jr's assistant RoseMarie Terenzio.

The book, released last year, details RoseMarie's experiences working with John as well as her close friendship with Carolyn. I haven't read the book yet but I might pick up a copy now that it's available in paperback. Have any readers gotten a chance to look through it yet?

This article highlights one of the perks of working with JFK Jr - receiving Carolyn's hand me downs. A job assisting one of the most enigmatic men of the time and free clothes from our style icon? I'd take it at minimum wage!

Carolyn and RoseMarie at a party thrown
for RoseMarie's birthday in Pravda Bar NYC (1999)
"One night in the fall of 1996, RoseMarie Terenzio was giddily preparing for a date with a “good looking media pundit” when she received a call from her boss’ gorgeous new bride, Carolyn Bessette. 
The former Calvin Klein publicist summoned Terenzio — then the personal assistant to John F. Kennedy Jr. at George magazine — to the couple’s TriBeCa loft. 
“Whenever I would be going out on a date, she’d say, ‘What are you wearing? Come down and we’ll pick something out for you to wear,’ ” recalls Terenzio, who describes the style icon as her “fashion fairy godmother.” Bessette urged Terenzio, then 27, to try on a vintage faux-leopard double-breasted coat to seal her look.
“She said, ‘It looks perfect on you. You should keep it. I’ve been photographed in it so many times, [the media] are going to start making fun of me,’ ” Terenzio says. 
The statement piece is still a favorite of Terenzio, who now heads her own publicity firm, RMT PR Management. And luckily for her, it was just the first of many timeless items Bessette donated to her over the course of their close friendship before her tragic death in 1999. 
Despite Bessette’s rarefied fashion background, she was surprisingly grounded in her approach to style, Terenzio tells The Post. She never attended fashion shows after she left her job at Calvin Klein, and she regularly wore many of the same everyday basics — her go-to casual separates were Levi’s jeans and T-shirts from the Gap and Petit Bateau. Her closet was neat but not a walk-in.

And unlike many of today’s parasitic celebrities, [Carolyn]  never accepted freebies to pad her enviable wardrobe. “She always said, ‘I have to pay for it .  .  . and if not, unfortunately, I have to send it back,” says Terenzio.
Bessette also was generous with her friends, lending them clothes or giving them away. She even made over Terenzio with a shopping trip to Barneys and expensive highlights — a moment that is documented in her new best-selling book, “Fairy Tale Interrupted” (inset right). 
“I get e-mails from women telling me their favorite story in the book was the shopping trip that Carolyn took me on. It was a fantasy, a real Cinderella story,” Terenzio says. “She wanted my career to take off.” 
But Terenzio admits she became the envy of George magazine staffers after Bessette took her under her wing. “People in the office were jealous. They’d say, ‘Oh, she’s trying to look like Carolyn.’ And who wouldn’t want to look like her?”
JFK Jr.’s better half was more than just a trophy wife, insists her friend. “She loved making people feel good about themselves. She was so generous and down to earth,” says Terenzio. “That was her mission.” - NY Post, 2012
It was so nice to read this article from a close friend of both Carolyn and John's, because it just confirms what us fans have always thought - Carolyn was above all a great friend and a generous spirit. I don't know how many of us readers would give up our Prada coats so easily but it just goes to show you what a beautiful person CBK was inside, and out!

Below are more of Carolyn's coveted pieces (and ours!):

Vintage leopard print coat 
“Carolyn hated being wasteful, so she donated to charity, and before she was married, she used to give things to Ina, the major downtown consignment store. She even gave her clothes to other staffers at George. Most of her clothes were designer, but she got this coat at a flea market in Paris.”

In the above picture with John, RoseMarie is wearing both the vintage leopard coat and the Prada bag gifted to her by Carolyn.

Navy Prada coat 
“Carolyn didn’t have a big closet. If you saw her closet, you would think, ‘Oh my God.’ It was probably the same size as mine in my studio apartment. She had a top shelf for her sweaters and bags, her hung clothes, and then she had her shoes and boots at the bottom. [She and John] had a living-room closet where they hung their coats. This coat was probably one of the last things Carolyn gave me. She had one in camel as well and switched off with this coat one winter. I borrowed it and said, ‘I have to give this back,’ and she said, ‘No, just keep it. It looks gorgeous on you.’ ”

Yohji Yamamoto jacket 
“When John started George, Carolyn had to make sure not to wear one designer over another because they advertise in the magazine. So she wore a ton of Yohji because they didn’t advertise at all. She wore this jacket with a black Yohji skirt to a Municipal Art Society party.”

Prada bag
“Carolyn had handbags, but she didn’t have 75 handbags. I don’t think it existed back then, but I can’t imagine Carolyn putting her name on a wait list for a bag. She’d say, ‘I’ll find another bag.’ This Prada bag was her everyday bag for a year.

Italian alligator clutch
Italian alligator clutc h "I borrowed this clutch from Carolyn for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and she had a similar one (pictured above), so she said, ‘You can have it.’ ”

White Prada coat 
“Carolyn would say, ‘If you’re going to wear really bold colours or prints, the fabric has to be really nice. If you’re not going to spend tons of money, you should stick to gray, navy, black, nudes and white. It usually works.’ This coat was actually made for Carolyn by Prada, and she wore it a couple of times with her bootcut Levi’s, and then she said, ‘This is too much white for me with my blond hair and skin.’ She said it would look better with my colouring.”

Ann Demeulemeester skirt
“Carolyn’s favorite designers were Yohji [Yamamoto], Prada, Miu Miu and Ann Demeulemeester,” says Terenzio. “She picked out most of her own stuff unless new clothes had come in from Yohji and she’d get a phone call.” Bessette also had a keen eye for fit. “This [skirt] was from Barneys on our first shopping trip. Carolyn told me to try it on; I said it would never fit me. And it fit me like a glove.”

It's interesting to hear that her clothing choices were limited by John's job and that she had to stray from companies that were advertised in his magazine, and that Carolyn would send back pieces that were sent to her for free. This article was a great read not only because it gave us the back story on some of Carolyn's favourite pieces but also bits about her personality as well. She was stylish but also very down to earth.