By  on December 16, 2010

Oleg Cassini wasn’t the only famous name in his family. His brother Igor was a major gossip columnist in the Fifties (under the pseudonym Cholly Knickerbocker) and a publicist who, in 1963, was indicted for failing to register as a paid agent for Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo. Nearly a decade later, WWD hunted him down in Rome, where he was writing his memoir. “The Fifties were the most brilliant years in American history,” Igor Cassini told the paper in 1972. “The old rules do not apply any more to this world.”

The younger Cassini also shared his thoughts on the current crop of socials. “In New York, the leaders are those Vogue and Bazaar write about,” he said. “The real solid controllers of Paris society are the Guy de Rothchilds, backed up by the entire Rothschild clan.” In Rome, he added, those honors went to the Agnellis, Marella and Gianni. “[But] social life in the world, with the exception of a few people who live in great mansions with many servants and lots of money, has lost its significance….Today it’s a person who has been noticed by a newspaper or glossy magazine, a person in the right spot with the right people. So really society is a bad term to define these people. It’s really an old-fashioned term which is no longer right for this life.”

And what of his thoughts on Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, whom his brother famously dressed? “It was my suggestion for Oleg to become the official White House designer,” Cassini said. “In the beginning, Jackie looked naïve. After, she became queenly. But she has always been attracted by fame and fortune….I must say that she is one of the most ambitious people I have ever met.”

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