2006_03_olegcassini.jpgNew York based fashion designer Oleg Cassini died at age 92 last night. Best known for his work as Jackie Kennedy's "official wardrobe designer," he also dressed a number of Hollywood stars, including Gene Tierney (his second wife) and Joan Fontaine. He was also a playboy, dating Betty Grable, Lana Turner, Ursula Andress, and Grace Kelly. The AP reports that "fashion historians credit him with the sheath, the A-line, the little white collar and the military look for women," and the Times points out that Cassini took credit for introducing the Nehru jacket. Overall, Cassini was an American fashion institution, becoming the first designer to have licensed products; he was also a frequent clue in NY Times crossword puzzles ("American fashion designer Cassini").

2006_03_jackiekcoat.jpgIn his work for Jackie Kennedy, he designed a fawn colored coat with sable collar and muff for JFK's inauguration, which became widely copied. Some of Cassini's most famous designs for her were her inaugural gown, a beautiful azure gown worn to a Foreign Ministry reception in Mexico, a shimmering evening gown for a dinnre with Krushchev, and a lace dress worn to dinner with French President Charles de Gaulle. (Gothamist also loves this drapey silk jersey dress she wore.) In 1961, the NY Post quoted Cassini as saying, "My philosophy is this: Do not tamper with the anatomy of a woman's body; do not camouflage it. I don't want every woman to look like a little boy."

Visit the Oleg Cassini website.