Fifty years ago this week, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas as he rode in a motorcade alongside his wife Jacqueline. The now-iconic blood-spattered pink suit that the First Lady wore that day hasn't been seen in public since, but not because it's missing; it's because it's locked in a vault deep below the streets of DC, like a coveted secret clue in a shitty Dan Brown novel, where no one is going to see it until 2103.
In a fascinating piece for the New York Times, Cathy Horyn explores the history (and future) of the pink suit (a Chanel knockoff! GASP!) Jacqueline Kennedy wore on November 22nd, 1963. After the "chaos of the day," it disappeared from the public eye, only to appear at the National Archives via US Mail in 1964 along with an unsigned note that read "Jackie's suite and bag — worn November 22, 1963" written on Mrs. Kennedy's mother's stationary. The pillbox hat and Jackie's white gloves remain missing.
Horyn notes that the Kennedy family has been careful to keep assassination artifacts from becoming gawk fodder, and thus many items seen in footage that day — like the President's suit — are tucked away from public view. Scholars have been granted the opportunity to see some items, but no one has been allowed to view the suit and stockings, which, according to an Archives official who has seen them, haven't been cleaned since the day of Kennedy's assassination.
When Caroline Kennedy formally gifted the suit to the Archives a decade ago, the gift came with instructions that the suit wasn't to be publicly displayed for 100 years. Which means that we'll all be dead before it goes on public display.
To be honest, this is fine with me. The only people more tiresome than people obsessed with the macabre aspects of the Kennedy assassination are people who are obsessed with Princess Grace of Monaco.