This Vintage Sourcer Tracked Down Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy’s Favorite Shoes—Now, She’s Putting Them Up For Sale

“No one can ever emulate her to a tee,” Julia Rabinowitsch, vintage sourcer and founder of lifestyle site The Millennial Decorator, says of the late Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy. But Rabinowitsch wants to help us all try: on June 4, she’s dropping a collection of 15 pairs of shoe designs once worn by the Calvin Klein executive and wife of John F. Kennedy Jr.

To clarify: these aren’t the exact items that were physically in Bessette-Kennedy’s possession—but they are the same brand, style, and often year of the ones she owned. Rabinowitsch spent countless hours pouring over old paparazzi photos from the 1990s, as well as Sunita Kumar Nair’s book CBK: Carolyn Bessette Kennedy: A Life in Fashion, to identify the specific archival footwear she had in her closet. Then, “It was a good six months of daily searching,” she says. “It was so meticulous because her styles were pretty much the rarest of the rare to look for.”

There are her Carolyne Manolo Blahniks, which she wore to a 1997 ceremony to mark President John F. Kennedy’s birthday. (The name “Carolyne” was not a nod to Bessette-Kennedy, but rather Blahnik’s artist friend Carolyne Roehm.) She also frequently wore black Prada loafers while walking around TriBeCa, perhaps heading to lunch at Bubby’s or dinner at the Tribeca Grill. And then there were the snakeskin Prada kitten heels she often threw on with a pair of cropped blue jeans and a black overcoat. (Rabinowitsch says that she’s “never gotten so many messages” after putting them on her Instagram story, despite not even mentioning their association with Bessette-Kennedy. “People were freaking out—they’re such a unique pair.”)

The trickiest style to track down? Beige Manolo Blahnik Mary Janes with a tiny buckle in front. Rabinowitsch eventually found them via an eBay account, Rabbit Rabbit, that’s solely dedicated to tracking down archival fashion pieces Bessette wore. A pair of Prada boots, meanwhile, came all the way from Japan.

Prada snakeskin Mary Janes—along with a moodboard of research Rabinowitsch did to identify the design.

Photo: Courtesy of The Millennial Decorator

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