Where does one begin in describing Grace Kelly? She was beautiful, stylish, graceful, and an Oscar winner. She was mother, wife, daughter, the girl-next-door, and Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco. As a young actress, she dressed according to her rules and her’s alone. She knew what looked good on her and she had the confidence to wear it even if everyone else dressed differently. Consequently, off she went to audition at the theater, which was often quite dusty, wearing white gloves, neutral hose, low-heeled shoes, slim wool skirts, camel-hair coat, horn-rimmed glasses and minimalistic makeup. Thus entered Grace Kelly into the world of acting.
Her modeling experience gave her insight into what looked good on her and imbedded within her the importance of good posture – knowledge that served her well. She had the inner strength to say “no” to bad scripts, directors with whom she did not want to work, and costumes that did not bring out her best features. Although considered soft-spoken and shy, she was strong-willed enough to get what she wanted, and when it came to fashion and movie costume designers, Edith Head was whom she wanted. Head understood Kelly’s style; it was classic, yet understated. Tommy Hilfiger once described style as being something “enduring and forever. It’s something you cannot buy. There is a chic-ness to conservative style done in an elegant way”. And no one did conservative more elegantly than Kelly.
Her intuitive ability to accessorise – a gift that separates the well dressed from the fashionably turned out, even today – gave her an even more enviable edge. She converted many of her signature shirtwaist dresses and skirt suits from the 1950s from simply pretty to arrestingly different with strategically pinned brooches, those ever-present gloves, a hair clasp, jewelled band, or cocktail crescent fastened into her moonlight-blonde bob, or a sliver of silk pleated into her neckline.
Kelly knew that simple clothes looked the best on her. She could accentuate her best features, her waistline with a belt or a cinched waist and her neckline with a scarf or a strand of pearls. This attention to detail allowed her to look just as good in a pair of cut-off trousers and loafers as she did in a couture gown.
Grace Kelly was beautiful, refined, and well-mannered. She was strong-willed, yet polite. She genuinely enjoyed being in “her own skin” and celebrated by dressing in what looked good on her, regardless of whether or not it was in style or featured on the runway. She truly had that something special called “style”.
The Grace Kelly look:
clothes that accentuated her shape
monochromatic color schemes
leather shoes with kitten heels that completedt the monochromatic color scheme
strand of pearls
simple hairstyle that complemented her face shape
natural looking makeup palette
Hermes “Kelly” Bag
The Pattern Dress
The first meeting of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco had been arranged by a French magazine as a photo opportunity during the 1955 Cannes Film Festival. However, everything that could go wrong prior to their meeting did just that. The hotel she was staying at lost power so she could not dry her hair or iron a dress. In fact, Kelly even considered cancelling the meeting. She, however, decided to make the best out of a bad situation; she pulled her hair back and pinned in some plastic flowers and put on the one garment that was not wrinkled — a floral silk taffeta dress made from a McCall’s dress pattern that she had worn for the cover of their Spring 1955 pattern book. It was a far cry from Kelly’s usual look, but she wore it confidently and won the Prince’s heart.
The Hermes Kelly Bag
In 1956, a photo of Grace Kelly, who had become the new Princess of Monaco) carrying the Sac à dépêches bag to shield her pregnant stomach from the prying eyes of the paparazzi. Photographs of her covering her stomach bulge with her hallowed Hermès were splashed all over the world and made it onto the cover of Life magazine. Thus, the company — or possibly more like the public — renamed it the Kelly bag, and it became hugely popular.
The engagement ring Kelly’s character in High Society wears is actually the ring given to her by Prince Rainier of Monaco