Nothing should be noticed.
-Rachel "Bunny" Mellon
Although said in reference to her approach to garden design, this oft-repeated quote epitomizes the restrained refinement and desire to avoid the spotlight that defined the long life of heiress, horticulturist, art collector, and philanthropist Rachel “Bunny” Mellon. Staying out of the public eye was no easy task given that she was best friends with Jacqueline Kennedy who engaged her to redesign the White House Rose Garden. When Bunny did appear in public, she wore understated clothes made just for her by the haute couture fashion designers Hubert de Givenchy and Cristóbal Balenciaga.
Born into great wealth, Rachel Lambert Mellon (1910–2014) was the daughter of Gerard Barnes Lambert, president of the Gillette Safety Razor Company, and granddaughter of Lambert Pharmaceuticals founder Jordan Lambert, the inventor of Listerine. Her mother, also named Rachel, nicknamed her “Bunny” and the childhood label stuck. Bunny’s second marriage to Paul Mellon (1907–1999), the only son of industrialist Andrew Mellon (1855–1937), the heir to the Mellon Bank fortune, greatly increased her net worth and launched the couple’s foray in the art world as collectors and benefactors. Andrew endowed the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and Paul dedicated the building including his father’s extensive art collection in 1941. Paul later provided the funding for the I.M. Pei-designed East Building and over the years he and Bunny donated over 1,000 artworks to The National Gallery.