As the United States reflects on the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination, arguably the most iconic image from that dark day is the pink suit worn by the first lady, Jackie Kennedy.
According to USA Today, the origin of the suit -- sometimes referred to as “Jackie’s Chanel suit” -- has been the subject of intense debate, but it is now accepted that the pink suit was an authorized line-by-line replica made by New York fashion house Chez Ninon.
“In the old days, Chanel let certain U.S.-based designers buy a suit and literally copy it, line for line,” Pamela Keogh, author of the book “Jackie Style,” told News.com.au. “They would send them the exact material and buttons from France.”
As CNN reports, Jackie Kennedy is believed to have worn the iconic wool two-piece suit with the navy blue collar at least six times before Nov. 22, 1963.
"During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Mrs. Kennedy was forced to take over the president's diplomatic duties, something she never did," Nicole Mary Kelby, author of “The Pink Suit,” told USA Today. "And [she] wore it twice in a week -- which was quite telling of the stress she was under. The next time she wore it was in Dallas."
She never wore the pink suit again after Nov. 22, 1963.
When JFK was assassinated, Jackie Kennedy’s pink suit was stained with his blood. She famously refused to change clothes, even hours after the assassination.
"Her remark, I think she made it more than once is, 'No, I'm going to leave these clothes on. I want them to see what they have done,' " author Philip Shenon told CNN.
In one of the most famous images from that day, a stunned Jackie can be seen wearing the blood-stained pink suit as she stands next to Lyndon B. Johnson on Air Force One while he is sworn in as the President of the United States.
"That whole scene is obviously just surreal," Shenon said. "She arrives in the cabin in Air Force One in these clothes, covered with the president's blood, and she's expected to stand there and witness the swearing in of her husband's successor."
Jackie finally agreed to take off the pink suit the next morning, after the conclusion of JFK’s official autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital, News.com.au said.
According to News.com.au, Jackie Kennedy’s pink suit is now housed in a room within the National Archives and Records Administration in Maryland. It has never been cleaned, and the blood stains of JFK can still be seen on the suit.
The pink suit will remain hidden from the American public until 2103. As News.com.au reports, Caroline Kennedy -- Jackie’s only surviving child -- signed a deed in 2003 stipulating that the suit be shielded from public view for 100 years. According to CNN, even after 2103, the Kennedy family will need to approve any attempt to display the suit.
"Even those of us who were not born when Kennedy was president are not immune to the horrific image of that perfect woman in that perfectly beautiful suit covered in blood," Kelby told USA Today. "In Dallas, our dreams died. Our hopes followed. We are still in mourning for Jackie's America."