Vintage Style Icon: Grace Kelly
When you start to think about some of the great style icons of our time, one of the greatest has to be Grace Kelly. Born in 1929, Grace was one of the most photographed women ever - due in no small part to her beauty and elegance. She first came to the World's attention as a film actress in the 1950s, where her image was shown many a time in newspapers and magazines, as she was such a glamorous star. Hollywood stars at the time usually fell into two camps - voluptuous and sexy or the girl next door. Grace Kelly's unique charm comes from the fact that she sort of straddled both camps! Very glamorous but also very wholesome with a classic, understated look and impeccable sense of style.
Starting her career off as a model, Grace then trained to be a stage actress in New York, but her professionalism, beauty and subtle sex appeal soon brought her to the attention of many major Hollywood producers. In just five years (1951 to 1956) she made 11 films - including High Society, Rear Window and Dial M for Murder. She starred in many Alfred Hitchcock films during this time, as he tapped into her potential for playing sensual yet sophisticated women. One of the clever things that Grace did was tap into her earlier work as a model to use the clothing she wore to help create the character more effectively. She was one of the only actresses at the time to work closely with both the director and the costume designer to grasp exactly how the clothing should be worn.
In contrast to the somewhat elaborate costumes that she had to wear on screen, her off-screen look was more understated. For daywear, she usually opted for shirtwaist dresses, and casual shirts with Capri trousers. When she was attending special events, she had a preference for elegant and simple evening gowns that only enhanced her beauty and poise. She became a huge style icon all over the world, with fashion retailers coining the phrase "the Grace Kelly look" and adoring fans copying her simple style and immaculate grooming techniques.
Grace's life changed forever in May 1955 when on a working trip to the Cannes Film Festival she was asked to pose for "Paris Match" with the then reigning Prince Rainier III of Monaco. The pair hit it off and dated briefly before marrying in 1956. The law in Monaco at the time required that there were two marriage ceremonies - a civil and a religious one - and the pictures of both days helped to cement Grace's role as a real princess and true style icon.
As the new princess of Monaco, Grace gave up her film career and instead threw herself into family life, and she also did whatever she could to support her husband and the principality of Monaco. As she had shown in her earlier film roles, Grace really understood the importance of clothes and used fashion as an expression of her character. Her new role enabled her to shop at some of the best couture houses in the world, and she was particularly keen on Christian Dior with its modern, eye-catching yet suitably formal approach.
In the following years, Grace remained true to her original classic; simple style ethic but adapted the silhouettes slightly to match the fashions of the 1960s and 1970s. Her image remained fascinating to style lovers all over the world, until her untimely death in a car crash at the age of just 52.
However, Grace's fashion influence continued to live on after her death, and she is still seen as one of the top style icons to this day. If you want to get the Grace Kelly look, then check out the vintage clothes online at www.littlewingsfactory.com.