The Sad Reason Jackie Kennedy's Clothes Were Donated to a Convent After She Died

Valentino Garavani had been hoping to buy some of the dresses he'd made her through the years.

Jackie Kennedy Wardrobe
Photo: Getty Images

Jackie Kennedy's death in May of 1994 sent the entire world into mourning, but no one more so than her two children, Caroline and John.

Knowing they had a global audience, John put on a brave face. "I'm not going to cry in front of fifty million people," he told his longtime friend Sasha Chermayeff at the funeral. But of course, the ramifications of Jackie's death didn't end there. He and Caroline also had to handle the sale of her estate, which included her iconic wardrobe.

According to America's Reluctant Prince: The Life of John F. Kennedy Jr. by Steven M. Gillon, when John was courting advertisers for George magazine, he met with one of his mother's favorite designers, Valentino Garavani. The Italian fashion head had, by his estimations, designed "a hundred" custom dresses for the former First Lady, including the wedding gown she wore to marry Aristotle Onassis in 1968.

Aristotle and Jacqueline Onassis at Their Reception
Bettmann/Getty Images

Valentino asked John what had become of his mother's clothing, as he wanted to buy some of his designs, which he considered "among the most beautiful I've ever created."

But Jackie's dresses weren't up for sale. In fact, they were already out of John and Caroline's hands.

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"We couldn't bear the thought of walking down the street and seeing people in her clothes, so we gave them away," John told Valentino. When the designer, incredulous, asked where the dresses had gone, John told him, "We gave them to a convent in Rhode Island. Just think how happy those sisters are when the lights go down at night and everybody has gone home, and they turn up some music and are twirling around in your clothes." A sight to behold, we're sure.

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