It started, in a way, with those sunglasses. You know the ones: They’re like big, round bowls of black, designed both to block out the sun and to deny the paparazzi a look at the full of your face. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis made them so famous that, today, Ray-Ban makes an updated version called, simply, Jackie Ohh.
Celebrity yacht fashion through the decades
Jackie was, arguably, one of the original celebrity fashionistas of the yachting scene, at first in crisp, knee-length shorts and collared, sleeveless tops with the Kennedy clan aboard classic New England-style sailing and motoryachts, and later in occasionally more elegant attire aboard the 325-foot superyacht Christina, which her second husband, Aristotle Onassis, converted from a military ship to a luxury yacht (Christina is still afloat today, chartering as Christina O).
Photographers worldwide would try to snap photos of Jackie aboard Christina, as they did everywhere else she went, but that’s what private yachts are for: They’re a sanctuary at sea for people whose faces the dolphins and fish, quite simply, do not recognize.
That quest to achieve privacy is one reason why many of today’s top celebrities, from Matt Damon to Sylvester Stallone to Sean Combs to the power couple Beyonce and Jay-Z, sometimes charter yachts. Modern shipyards are even building the yachts with windows that, at the push of a button, turn from clear to opaque, so nobody can see inside. They’re also putting more sunbeds and relaxation areas up on the bow, as opposed to at the stern, giving A-list stars a place to get away from the crowds when yachts are tied up stern-to at the dock.
But the paparazzi still give chase, and modern-era fashionistas sometimes take the opportunity to step out for the cameras, to promote a hot designer or even a favorite T-shirt. And when they do, today’s celebs show a lot more skin than Jackie O could ever have imagined.
Beyonce, for instance, has been photographed on a yachting holiday while wearing a green dress so low- and wide-cut at the top that it put some bikinis to shame. Then again, she and Jay-Z also sometimes play it borderline Kennedy cool, with Beyonce in island-style flowing white dresses and Jay-Z in shorts with a collared shirt and rolled-up sleeves.
Jennifer Lopez and Marc Antony have also been photographed walking down a yacht passerelle, headed ashore in a modern take on classic khakis (for him) and a flowing yellow sheer dress that fast becomes a mini below the waist (for her). Interestingly, that same photo shows J-Lo walking off the yacht in stiletto heels—a major no-no aboard superyachts, because the pointed shoes damage the teak decks. Antony is in stylish flip-flops, which is footwear of which Jackie O would approve.
To this day, celebrities and yachts are a trend that continues to transcend the decades. Who will be our next Jackie O, or maybe our next Jay-Z—and what luxury attire will they model while onboard—only time will tell...