The Pink Suit – Nicole Mary Kelby

The front cover of the book is what grabbed my attention.  The photo is set in black/brown with lighter shades of the same colours.  It is a photo of people smiling and reaching out to greet the First Lady, Jackie Kennedy.  The only colour is that of her suit and the red roses. My husband has watched many documentaries on the assassination of John F Kennedy so when I saw the cover of the book, it peaked my interest.

Throughout the years whenever that fateful day is discussed I always had the words, ‘the famous Chanel suit’ run through my mind, and very early in the book I learn that the suit was not even made by Chanel but by Chez Ninon.  It was designed by Chanel and the rights were given to Chez Ninon to do a line by line reproduction of the suit.  We get a glimpse into the world of fashion, the frenzy around the clothes for the First Lady and of course we meet Kate – the seamstress who worked on The Pink Suit.

I never realised the politics involved behind the wardrobe of the First Lady.  Yes, I know there is always the talk on what they guess the First Lady will be wearing or should be wearing but the politics!!!  It made me stop and think about what is currently happening in the world.  Are the clothes of the First Lady still dictated by politics or has all that blown out the window?

When reading the part of September 1961 and the firebombing of a Greyhound bus on Mother’s Day and the Attorney General was blaming extremists for this, it just highlighted how things have not changed.  We have just witnessed the fatal shooting at the nightclub in Florida (Pulse). So here we are in 2016 and still we have these issues.   Every day we see horror reports about violence and murders across the world.  Nothing has changed.

But let me get back to the book.  I had to giggle when in Chapter Two Chanel was introduced to us.  Here we have THE world famous designer and yet her suit is held together with safety pins.  I enjoy sewing and have made many an outfit for myself and usually when I get to the buttons (which I hate to sew on) I would fix them to the garment with safety pins.  My mom always told me I was lazy for doing that.  But I feel better now for knowing that Chanel did the same thing (chuckle, chuckle) J

Getting to ‘see’ the inside of Kate’s apartment made me feel good about my craftroom.  (With fabric stacked everywhere and thread in all the colours ever made).  So I am truly not alone – there are more people out there just like me.  I absolutely loved the sentence, ‘When it came to fabric, she was obsessed by the touch, color, and the promise that it held.’  (This book has inspired me to take up my sewing again).

All we see is The Pink suit, but we never think about the painstaking hours it took to make that suit.  We don’t think about the person who touched that suit, stitched every seam and pleat and worked for hours in order to create perfection.  The Pink Suit takes us into the life of Kate.  We learn about her challenges and what she has to go through in order to produce this suit.  She has to deal with her own personal issues and yet still deliver a work of art for the First Lady.

The book was easy to read and if I had to put the book down for some reason, I could not wait to get back to it.


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