Step Inside Jackie Kennedy’s Closet with Natalie Portman’s Latest Film

A selection of looks from the film Jackie

Poise, style and strength—Jackie Kennedy was a true original. Natalie Portman transforms into this much-admired American icon in Jackie, opening in select theatres today. Directed by Pablo Larrain, the film recreates the days following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, through the eyes of First Lady Jackie Kennedy.

Natalie Portman may take the spotlight, but her wardrobe is the quiet star of the film. From the glamorous gowns to the iconic pink suit, Kennedy’s clothing comes to life onscreen. The historically identical fashion comes courtesy of Madeline Fontaine (whose work includes Amélie and Yves Saint Laurent). We caught up with the French costume designer to talk creative process, as she takes us behind the seams of this buzzy biopic.

How did you recreate Jackie Kennedy’s iconic looks in the film?
“We did such an incredible amount of research through pictures—we had to stick to reality as much as possible. We had access to a lot of pictures from her wardrobe; the Kennedy family has been photographed so much. No big surprise, she really was a fashion icon—she loved French designers and had to deal with diplomacy, making the suits in the USA through a local designer, Oleg Cassini.”

What were some of Jackie’s signature looks?
“From the film, the pink ‘Chanel’ suit, the red suit from the White House tour and the funeral dress with the veil.”

What designers did you work with for Natalie Portman’s wardrobe?
“We worked with Chanel, and other couture houses helped, too. We also gathered pieces from vintage and antique shops that were altered to fit Natalie.”

How did you recreate the iconic pink suit?
“We made it in our workshop [and] did some tests to decide the colour. We hand-dyed the fabric until we found the right pink for the camera and then we made five of them. Chanel gave us the buttons, the chain for the inside of the jacket and a label in case the jacket fell on the floor. It had to be as close as possible to the original one, and we needed more than one for the film. We made about five colour variations of the pink suit.”

What was your initial reaction when you saw Natalie on-set in full wardrobe as Jackie?
“She truly transformed; she was Jackie—she took everyone’s breath away.”

Watch the Jackie trailer below.