Joan McHale Reporting- Jan.31, 1961 On President Kennedy's First Address


WASHINGTON -- While President Kennedy painted the 1961 picture as bleak gray to black in his State of the Union Address Monday, his family provided splashes of color in the Executive Gallery.

With a smile as warm as her plum-colored suit, (photo on P. 24) the First Lady went to her front row seat, as members of Congress stood to applaud her arrival.

HER BLACK SILK PILLBOX was tilted back on her smooth bouffant hair-do. She wore black pumps and purse to play off the vivid outfit.

Her mother, Mrs. Hugh Auchincloss, wore a teal blue coat with black framed shawl collar and a black velvet head-hugging hat.

Hatless Ethel Kennedy doffed her full-length fur coat to show her pink nubby wool suit, semi-fitted, and tied at the left shoulder. She was so exhilarated she lost a bangle from her gold bracelet as she clapped enthusiastically for her brother-in-law.

LADY BIRD JOHNSON, wife of the Vice President, wore a boxy lime green silk suit with gold lapel pin and matching pillbox.

In the same VIP gallery, Mrs. Stewart Udall, wife of the Secretary of the Interior. took on the "Jackie look" with real dash. A black velvet pillbox with a bow atop framed her bouffant blonde hair. Her black suit had black wool embroidery at the shawl collar and edging the loosely fitted jacket.

MAUVE AND PINK ASTERS paved the cloche worn by Mrs. Earl Warren, wife of the Chief Justice, who was seated near Mrs. Douglas Dillon, wearing a hot pink wool casual suit, with a bit of leopard peeping over the collar.

Seated in the diplomatic gallery were wives of the ambassadors, among them Mrs. Herve Alphand of France, swathed in blond mink, with matching pillbox.

Mrs. Richard Seppala of Finland wore a black mink cossack's hat; with her was Mrs. William
Halam, of Ghana, whose wrap-around costume of gold embroidered silk was worn with a chartreuse pillbox.
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SUNDAY'S 5 p.m. reception at the White House was relaxed, any way you look at it. For the first time in many a year, guests could drink and smoke. It was a family affair, as well, since many of the presidential appointees being honored brought the kiddies along.

Dainty bouquets of white tulips decorated the green, blue and red rooms where the 250 guests assembled.

Mrs. Kennedy's short black velvet sheath, re-embroidered in silky black flowers was sleeveless, boat-necked and low V-backed. Her only jewelry was a pair of long pearl earrings. Sleeveless too was the hot pink dress worn by Ethel Kennedy, one she wore for the Distinguished Ladies' Tea during the Inaugural week. Mrs. Lyndon Johnson's brocaded green suit was collared in marten.