What does Kimye’s wedding and John Kennedy Jr’s and Carolyn Bessette’s have in common?
While the entire world (okay, let’s hope not the entire world) was obsessing over the much hyped/marketed and scripted Kimye wedding, I was reminded of another famous nuptial that was the counter opposite: in other words, stylish, understated and timelessly elegant.
It was the surprise—and very private—1996 wedding between John Kennedy Jr and Carolyn Bessette on Georgia’s Cumberland Island. I was reading The Pursuit of Style: advice & musings from America’s top fashion designers and noticed a quote from Narciso Rodriguez. He was asked what was the favourite item he had ever designed. Not surprisingly, it was Carolyn’s wedding dress. At the time, Rodriguez wasn’t a fashion name, but that changed once the image of her wearing that simple bias-cut silk dress hit the press. The two were close friends, having worked together years earlier at Calvin Klein.
I had the chance to chat with the New York-based designer last week. We spoke about fashion, fragrances and the women in his life, including Carolyn who he described as extraordinarily beautiful. “I certainly have really good taste in women,” he laughingly told me. He also revealed the one gift he received from Carolyn that he cherishes the most. Guess what that is?
It’s evident that even talking about Carolyn—almost 15 years after her tragic death in an airplane crash—is emotional. “Women like Carolyn are such an inspiration to me; it’s their ability to make everyone in a room turn when they walk in," explained Rodriguez. "That self-possession. There are many great beauties but there are rare beauties who inspire and captivate and hold your attention for ever. She was an incredible woman.” As he was speaking about his friend, Rodriguez unconsciously moved his hand to the Georg Jensen bracelet on his left wrist that she gave him almost 19 years ago. “Have you ever taken that off?” I asked. “No, I never have and I’ve had to battle to keep it on whenever I’ve needed a procedure. She had given me another one, earlier—a very beautiful little silver bracelet that didn’t close and I had lost it immediately on an airplane. Carolyn had given that one to me for Christmas. And then in January, for my birthday, she found this one. She put it on my wrist and closed it and said: “Now you’ll never lose this one. It was one of those moments where something profound was said.”
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