Oleg Cassini (1913 – 2006) was an American fashion designer born to an aristocratic Russian family with maternal Italian ancestry. He came to the United States as a young man after starting as a designer in Rome, and quickly got work with Paramount Pictures.
Cassini established his reputation by designing for films. He gained additional renown by designing for First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. “The Jackie Look” was highly influential in American design.
He also designed for Rita Hayworth, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood and Gene Tierney whom he married in 1941; they separated after the birth of their first daughter. She began a romance with John F. Kennedy. Their romance was short lived as he could never marry her because of his political ambitions. She reconciled with Cassini and they had a second daughter. This marriage lasted until 1952 and they remained friends.
After his divorce Cassini and Grace Kelly were briefly engaged, but her family would not approve the marriage as he was 16 years her senior, twice divorced, had 2 children and was non-catholic.
Oleg Cassini designed this gown for Gene Tierney, though a speedy elopement meant it was never made and worn. Five years later, the gown saw the light of day for Gene’s role in the movie Razor’s Edge (1946), for which Oleg designed her costumes.
Marilyn wore a smoldering red Oleg Cassini velvet gown to accept her Best Young Box Office Personality award in 1951. She later wore it for a sensual publicity portrait.
Grace Kelly at the premiere of Rear Window, 1954.
Her dress was designed by Oleg Cassini who was her escort that evening.
Photo by Frank Worth.
Oleg Cassini dressing Lana Turner
Jackie Kennedy Onassis in iconic 1961 Presidential Inauguration gown by Oleg Cassini.