Remembering Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, Reluctant Fashion Icon

The legendary beauty never dressed for attention—but shutterbugs couldn't help themselves.

When Carolyn Bessette married John F. Kennedy, Jr. in 1996, she was thrust into the international limelight and positioned to be a First Lady of Fashion for the ages. Newsweek declared that she was an American princess and the world was "Crazy for Carolyn," who was praised by Anna Wintour and clamored over by designers who drooled to dress her.

But even though she was deep into a successful career working as an exec for Calvin Klein and photographed in effortlessly chic and sleek outfits — all black seemed to be her frequent favorite, save for her sumptuous white Narciso Rodriguez wedding gown and her futuristic forays into black and beige — she wasn’t comfortable with the constant clicking invasiveness of paparazzi cameras.

It was even reported that Carolyn turned down invitations to be on the cover of several fashion magazines. Just three years later, in 1999, her life was cut tragically short in a plane crash.

Now, friends of the couple are revealing the depths to which his wife struggled with the global attention in I Am JFK Jr., a new documentary that premieres on Spike TV tonight. "She was a whole other complex woman,” her friend Sasha Chermayeff told People. "The newness of the celebrity was much more shocking for her."

Though her time as a reluctant public figure was short, her sensibilities endure. Canadian designer Wes Gordon explained to the Washington Post that Carolyn and the whole “‘90s Calvin Klein vibe” inspired his 2015 fashion collection. And just this spring, Elle declared that Amal Clooney is the modern torchbearer of Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy’s style, gushing that “Two decades may have passed but we still tend to prefer our female style idols as such: beautiful, smart . . . and discreet.”

We'll be tuning in tonight for sure.

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