Photo credit: (c) Todd J. Tubutis
It's fair to say that intersecting stories abound in this photograph. Gathered for the November 2004 opening gala of "Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years" at the Field Museum in Chicago, this photograph was taken just days after Mr. O won the junior U.S. Senate seat for the state of Illinois. Mr. O is joined by the ever-glamorous Mrs. O, Senator Ted and Victoria Reggie Kennedy of Massachusetts, and the now controversy-embroiled Rod and Patricia Mell Blagojevich of Illinois - all posed in front of a portrait of Marshall Field, founder of the Chicago-based department stores and the museum's namesake.
Wearing a caramel-gold silk halter paired with a long black velvet skirt, Mrs. O is the epitome of chic. Her dramatic, full hair; her enviable toned arms and back; her clutch demurely tucked behind her back; her rose metallic wrap effortlessly tossed over her wrist - this is why we love and celebrate Mrs. O's style. Taken around the time Mrs. O first began to work with Maria Pinto, it's quite likely that this ensemble is to the designer's credit (our greatest clue is the detailed evening wrap, one of Pinto's specialities).
And for those who have wondered if Mrs. O's fashion prowess might be the result of a calculated campaign effort, rest assured she was stylish long before she was set to become our future First Lady. Remember, this was 2004. While Mrs. O is certainly her own woman, we can't help but embrace the comparisons to Jackie Kennedy. We do genuinely see a link between these two women - in the unparalleled excitement that surrounds Mrs. O, and in her potential to have truly iconic influence.
Not since Jackie Kennedy have we been able to say that about a First Lady, with no disrespect meant to those who came in between. On that night in November 2004, we wonder if Mrs. O found sartorial inspiration in the collection of more than 70 garments once worn by history's great style icon, Jackie Kennedy. And if, perhaps, it crossed Mrs. O's mind just once that she too might have her own White House chapter someday. Just four years later it is our reality - full of hope, excitement, and of course, legend-in-the-making style.
Date: November 12, 2004
Venue: Gala Opening for "Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years" at the Field Museum, Chicago, IL