Grace Kelly in Rear Window
‘I certainly don't think of my life as a fairy tale,’ Grace Kelly once confessed. Her fans still beg-to-differ.
Even today, the Hollywood icon’s fairy tale shows no signs of being put back on the bookshelf. Her wedding dress will always be that wedding dress. The Hitchcock-coined ‘sexual elegance’ that so infatuated the filmmaker still captivates us in equal measure.
The magic of Grace Kelly’s style owes everything to its simplicity. As with most classic looks, there are always a few classic rules to follow. Here are just a few of the style lessons Princess Grace of Monaco taught us…
Purse? We’re Naked Without One
It was during her first pregnancy that Grace accidentally turned her Hermès bag into a must-have item. Shielding her bump from the preying paparazzi, the large, brown handbag became a cult accessory. Hermès even christened the bag ‘The Kelly’ in her honour. Grace Kelly would later comment: ‘Personally, I wouldn't go anywhere important without my own favorite Hermès black bag... For me, going out without that purse would seem almost like going out naked. Well, almost.’ Over 50 years later Hermès now creates 32 styles of handbags, but 'The Kelly' is still its bestseller.
Less is More
It is said that Grace’s mother Margaret never approved of flamboyant cosmetics, which might explain the actress’ disinterest in makeup. Having resolved that she looked better with very little, it set her apart from her Hollywood contemporaries such as Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. Not that this bothered Grace much. ‘I had to follow what I knew was right for me’, she said.
Old Clothes? Old Friends
Grace’s classic look wasn’t something she tampered with often. In fact, she was far more comfortable sticking with a look she knew and was comfortable with. Illustrating her no-nonsense approach to her wardrobe she once commented: ‘I just buy clothes when they take my eye, and I wear them for years.’ A slave to fashion, Grace was not. She even went as far as to say she was as loyal to old clothes as she was old friends.
Pearls are Always Appropriate
'I favor pearls on screen and in my private life', Grace once declared. Taking a leaf out of Coco Chanel's style Bible, a string of pearls quickly defined the star's signature look. It's still a classic addition to any outfit. Add to a fur stole and a pair of white gloves and you'll look equally as glam this season...
There Will Only Be One Wedding Dress
Try as we might, Grace Kelly's iconic wedding dress will never be bettered. Worn during her wedding to Prince Rainer III of Monaco on 19 April 1956, the lace masterpiece quickly became the most celebrated bridal dress of all time. Designed by Helen Rose at MGM, Hollywood glamour came to Monaco...and then some. The bodice was made of antique lace, cinched in by a ivory silk cummerbund with a silk tulle veil appliquéd romantically with two lace lovebirds. Over 50 years later amazing Grace's wedding look consistently tops the style polls, serving as inspiration for the next-generation of Princesses. Kate Middleton's dress owes it all to 1950s Hollywood.
By Kat Lister