The Eternal Style of Grace Kelly
As the world has driven itself into a ‘Princess craze’, it is more than appropriate to take a look back at a true Princess who created more than just a simple stir in the fashion industry.
Grace Kelly’s eternal style has shaped and influenced many a fashionista, not least the newly crowned Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Middleton, with her elegant, timeless and graceful (no pun intended) wedding dress. As Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly was the ultimate Princess – beautiful, glamorous and with a wardrobe to love and covet. Whilst her fashion choices were not contraversial, overtly artistic or expressive, they created an elegant and timeless staple that has been consistently referenced by designers, artists and
1954 was known as the ‘year of Grace’. In that year, Grace Kelly became Hollywood’s top female box-office attraction, starring in five films and winning the best actress Oscar for her role in The Country Girl. In her role as a fashion model in Rear Window, Kelly proudly proclaimed that she “never wears the same dress twice”, and since then, her flirty, feminine and supremely polished style has been referenced by catwalk designers Erdem and Prada, and influenced last year’s hottest trend after taking the small screen by storm in cult-watch Mad Men. Last, and certainly not least, Kelly was credited by the Victoria & Albert museum in London with their simply titled ‘Grace Kelly: Style Icon’ exhibit last year. Her Riviera style still influences chic holidaygoers to this very day, and Jonathan Saunders’ SS11 collection brings her classic beach-side elegance up-to-date – this summer’s wide-brimmed floppy hats, huge sunglasses and fitted one-piece swimsuits all reference the put-together look of the 1950s.
Oleg Cassini, a Hollywood costumier turned New York fashion designer, credits himself with creating the ‘Grace Kelly look’. Cassini, who was briefly engaged to the actress, encouraged Kelly to flaunt her perfect, size 10 figure by donning flattering clothing as opposed to the frumpy casuals she appeared to habitually wear off-screen. “She dressed like a schoolteacher,” he told People magazine of his first encounter with Kelly, when she was an up-and-coming actress at MGM. “She neutralised her beauty because she wanted to be thought of as an actress. I told her she could be both. She had to put a little sex in her clothes.”
In turn, Kelly stepped into the limelight, wearing circle skirts, nipped-in waists, pearls, furs and classically elegant garments that would put Betty Draper herself to shame, with none other than Alfred Hitchcock himself honing her style. Her outfits, in particular a black ballgown worn in Rear Window, came from the celebrated director’s own artistic vision. As a true beauty, she is another starlet of the golden era whose style continues to influence designers and fashion lovers to this day.
By Sian Levett, www.style-brief.co.uk.