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The Pink Suit

Tuesday 2 May 2017, 6.00PM

Speaker(s): Professor Stella Bruzzi (Film and Television, Warwick)

On the morning of 22 November 1963 Jackie Kennedy was prevaricating over what to wear for a visit to Dallas while her husband quipped in front of a breakfast crowd at the Chamber of Commerce in Fort Worth:

‘Two years ago I introduced myself in Paris by saying that I was the man who accompanied Mrs Kennedy to Paris. I am getting somewhat that same sensation as I travel around Texas. Why is it that nobody wonders what Lyndon and I will be wearing?’

Minutes later, the President’s wife emerged in the Chez Ninon pink wool suit she would wear for the fatal open-topped motorcade ride.  For all the wrong reasons, it rapidly became universally recognisable, the blood-spattered relic of the assassination, hidden from public view until 2103. This paper will examine questions of authenticity, re-enactment and the afterlife of an object that, while it has been endlessly copied and reproduced, exists more as a fantasy object, a nostalgic trigger to memories of trauma and collective loss. Taking examples from screen renditions of the assassination - from the art piece The Eternal Frame (Ant Farm and T.R. Uthco, 1975), to the two mini-series Kennedy (1985) and The Kennedys (2013), to Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016) – Prof Bruzzi will examine the pink suit as an evocative site of both rupture and nostalgic recollection.

Stella Bruzzi was a founding member of the Department of Media Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London.  She joined the Department of Film & Television Studies at Warwick in 2006 as Head of Department and is currently Director of Research for Film and Television Studies. In April, she takes up the post of Dean of Arts and Humanities at University College London.  She has pioneered research on fashion in film.  She is currently at work on the book for which she was awarded a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship in 2011: Approximation: Documentary, History and Staging Reality.  Her paper is drawn from this project. 


Location: Bowland Auditorium, Berrick Saul Building, University of York Campus West