Produced by Andrea Serrano & Charlotte Belks
Interview by Andrea SerranoClothing is literally the fabric of our lives. It’s a necessity, it’s an art form,
it’s history, it tells a story. I had the rare opportunity of meet a fascinating
woman, Jacqueline Thelen, who has a large collection of vintage clothing.
Her collection spans over 60 decades, and tells a story of an era, a time when
life was so different than the world we know of today.
Jacqueline started her exciting journey though life as an airline stewardess
in the 1940’s, traveling all over the world. Her many accomplishments as a
model, entrepreneur, columnist, TV host, and mother of four children, have
proven that a woman can persevere under any circumstance. Jacqueline
is now in her 80’s, and continues to keep up with the current fashion and modern day culture.
Where have you lived? Italy, Ireland, Scotland, The Philippines, Greece, Cuba, New
York, New Orleans, Miami, San Francisco, La Hoya, and other cities in the the U.S.
Tell me about your days as an airline stewardess? It was 1941; I was only 19 when
I started flying for National Airlines. It was owned by Mr. George Baker, and they use
to call us Baker’s dozen because there was only 12 stewardess’ flying at the time. I met
my husband through my job, and he was one of the 1st Blue Angels. When we married
in 1948, I had to resign as a stewardess. Back then, by law you weren’t allowed to be
married and be a stewardess. There were many restrictions and requirements in the flight
industry in the early days. With most airlines you had to be at least 20 years old, and
you couldn’t be over 26 years old. You also had to be a registered nurse when you flew
abroad.Tell me about your modeling days. My first foray into modeling was with National
Airlines, when I was a stewardess in the 1940’s. I was crowned the 1st Mrs. Coronado
in 1950, when I lived in Coronado, California. I modeled in St. Petersburg, FL as well.
I worked with a lot of magazines, newspapers, and fashion shows. I was only 5 ft., so I
was considered a junior model.Tell me about your modeling school. I owned a modeling school in the 70’s in San
Diego, CA. It opened in 1970, and due to a serious illness I had to close it in 1978. It
was the Jacquleine Thelen modeling school. I also owned the Fashion Merchandising
School of San Diego at the same time from 1970-1978.
Who are your favorite designers? I like a lot of different designers, because I like a
lot of different clothing. Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Geoffrey Beene, Adolfo,
Valentino, and Yves Saint Laurent are some of my favorites. I like the more luxurious,
upscale designers; I’ve never been a casual person.Tell me about your dabbling in journalism. I wrote for the Ranch and Club Magazine
in Santa Fe, CA. My column was called Out and About with Jacqueline. I went to
different events around town such as fashion shows, art openings, fundraising galas,
operas, ect. I remember going to the National Dance Awards where celebrities such as
Liza Minelli, Sammy Davis Jr., Paula Abdul, and Patrick Swayze attended. I also wrote
for the Fresno Bee in California. In the Philippines I wrote for different magazines and
also had my own TV program in the 1960’s.
Do you have a favorite era in fashion? I loved the 40’s and the 50’s; I loved them all
because I’ve always dressed to the current fashion.
Where were the most stylish places you’ve been to? Italy. I use to live in Verona in
an old palace. I went to the operas, and several fashion shows.
What do you think of today’s fashion? I think today’s fashion is different for today.
Back in the day when I lived in San Francisco, people would always be dressed up in hats
and gloves. I also find that today there is not such good material.
All Clothing Used In This Photo Shoot Is from The Original, Authentic Vintage Wardrobe of Jacqueline Thelen. Styled by Andrea Serrano
White marabou coat – I wore it out a lot to fine restaurants in San Diego, we loved to
dress and loved to dance. 1960’s
Pink metallic bathing suit – I bought it in La Hoya in 1965. I use to wear it with a long
black velvet skirt.
Pink sequin dress – I bought it San Francisco. It was from the 1970’s.
Pink marabou jacket – Sonia Rykiel
White strapless dress –
White dress off the shoulder with ruffles – I bought it for a stewardess reunion. I bought
it in the 1970’s.
Pink pleated dress – I wore it to model in Sante Fe. Early 70’s
Red silk printed top – 80’s
Black leather skirt – bought it at Neiman Marcus in La Hoya, CA
Sage jumpsuit – late 60’s. I would’ve wore it to someone’s home
Navy blazer – 70’s.
Green Chloe top – 70’s
Black and White striped dress – late 60’s
Yellow coat dress – late 50’s
Crème lace dress – early 60’s, I wore it to the officer’s club
Blush beaded gown – 70’s, to the officer’s club, or fancy restaurant to dance
Black and gold sheer dress – 70’s