THE BOUVIER SISTERS
Caroline Lee Bouvier known as Lee Radziwil was the younger sister to the former US First Lady, Jackie Kennedy Onassis. The Bouvier duo, Jacqueline and Lee were 3 years apart and till the end of Jackie’s life had a complex, yet defining their lives, relationship.
“There’s an unspoken rule that if you’re friends with Lee you don’t talk about her sister at all. It’s the subject you never bring up,” once explained her good friend and former editor-at-large of Vogue magazine, André Leon Talley.
Yet, it’s hard not to mention Jackie while thinking about Lee. Her older sister was the family favourite; especially their dear father’s; “That was very clear to me, but I didn’t resent it, because I understood he had reason to… she was not only named after him… but she actually looked almost exactly like him, which was a source of great pride to my father,” Lee describes in her book, Happy Times.
At the same time, Lee’s friends often highlighted that looking into Radziwill’s face, you could have the sense of seeing Jackie’s face. Lee shared her sister’s eyes and high cheekbones. However, it was Lee who had a more feminine shape: was sleeker and slimmer. Jackie saw how men reacted to Lee. The Bouvier sister had different appearances and therefore developed their own, individual styles.
It’s important to mention that it was Lee who encouraged Jackie to break out of her more cautious tastes in fashion. Lee smuggled clothes from European designers such as Givenchy to Jackie’s White House wardrobe, even though JFK insisted Jackie would exclusively wear American designers. According to André Leon Talley “Lee was the first to be dressed in a Paris couture house and not Jackie”. She had both great taste and stylish contacts. In fact Lee advised the First Lady on her fashion choices during Kennedy’s presidency.
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