"My philosophy is this: Do not tamper with the anatomy of a woman's body; do not camouflage it." Oleg Cassini
Oleg Cassini was born Oleg Cassini Loiewski in 1913. His father was a Russian diplomat and his mother was a member of the Italian aristocracy who had also been a fashion designer. The family fled Russia due to Russian Revolution, and settled in Italy, adopting his mother's last name.
Cassini studied at the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Florence, and then designed for his mother before being hired to sketch for the design house of Jean Patou before opening his own studio. In 1936, he emigrated to the United States.
After his arrival in the United States, Cassini worked as a costume designer for both Paramount Pictures and Twentieth-Century Fox, and dressed many of Hollywood's leading ladies. Cassini's relationship with actresses was not purely business, as he dated many, was engaged to Grace Kelly, and married Gene Tierney.
After serving in the U.S. Army Cavalry Corps during World War II, Cassini returned to designing clothing for films, as well as for television and the theatre. He opened his own design house in 1950.
"We are on the threshold of a new American elegance thanks to Mrs. Kennedy's beauty, naturalness, understatement, exposure and symbolism." Oleg Cassini
Cassini was the official, and only, couturier of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. He designed over 300 outfits for her, coordinating every aspect of her wardrobe. He created the "Camelot look" just for the First Lady, and his well-crafted styles were widely copied.
Women of all ages clamored for pillbox hats, geometric dresses, and boxy jackets, and Cassini also brought into widespread fashion the sheath, the A-line dress, and the turtleneck for men (as well as the Nehru jacket). Cassini was the first high fashion designer to produce colored dress shirts for men. His ready-to-wear business was always an important part of his fashions, and in recent years his bridal dresses have become very popular.
Cassini was the first designer to license his name widely on products, from luggage to an interior trim package for an automobile.
In 1999, he popularized the use of faux fur in high fashion, displaying a collection featuring "Evolutionary Fur," which looks and feels like the real thing.
Cassini continued designing almost until his death in 2006.