“She knew how to wear clothes…” Edith Head Costume designer & friend.
Grace Kelly was a woman who knew her own mind, especially when it came to clothes. As a flourishing actress in the early 1950s renowned directors bowed to her understanding of fashion and what suited her. Her early career as a model had instilled within her a deep understanding of what worked and what did not for her figure and complexion.
Grace Kelly along with the beautiful Audrey Hepburn have always been of great inspiration and fascination for me. Grace especially, after my mum took me to the V&A which for a short period housed some of her beautiful clothes. It was here that I began to admire her poise, her understanding of fashion and wanted to find more out about her life. Theo promptly bought me the V&A book Grace Kelly Style due to me literally not shutting up about this lovely lady whose style I wished to use as inspiration.
Grace Kelly was a pioneer for the Signature Style. She championed the early “American preppy style.” Wearing shirts with cut off trousers and loafers or pumps she oozed the relaxed, care free girl next door look. However Grace gave a spin to this look as she also, above all, had a lady like composed and respectable style which I think has rarely been copied with as much success as the master herself had. What makes her so appealing, I believe, is the effortlessness of such style. It came so naturally to Grace. Another signature look was of course her endless supply of neat white gloves. These went everywhere with the star and is one accessory that I believe we truly do not use enough anymore. They just look so so elegant.
Her simple yet crafted approach to her wardrobe captured the eyes of American women and women all around the world. She knew who she was, she knew what suited her and her attitude made fashion seem accessible and appealing to so many. When it came to make up, less was more for Grace. Again she knew what suited her from working as a model in her early days. Grace preferred to let her natural features do the talking. Something some of the stars of today could do with taking note of sometimes less really is more. We should be promoting and be proud of our natural features, Grace I believe tried to do that. We must really learn, as Grace did, to be happy in our own skin. Her style was such a far cry from her contemporaries. Even Audrey and her dramatic eye liner and of course the beautiful Monroe with her signature rouge. Grace stood out in a natural, pure kind of way. There is of course nothing wrong with the styles of Monroe and Audrey, I’m the first to attempt to recreate Audrey’s eyes and Monroe’s classic red lips.
However there is still something so truly beautiful about Grace’s simple style. Her reliance upon her natural features really inspires me and makes me want to have more non makeup filled days or certainly less make up filled days. Loose the reliance upon the eye liner or the blusher and learn to love and appreciate the natural features that I have. Everyday at school I see more and more girls caked in layers of make up, this really makes me sad. Maybe if more celebrities and us adults alike took a leaf out of Grace’s book relying upon our natural features to carry us forward we would be able to start to change the way a generation looks at itself.
I think we can really learn a great deal from Grace. We need to take notice of what suits us, pick a style and stick with it, experiment and develop that style. Find something that works FOR YOU. Rather than buying into what the catwalks or more likely the high street churns out, find a look, a signature style that is yours ( like the white gloves thing for Grace) work with it, play with it and have immense fun with it 🙂
The biography that I am currently reading about Grace “High Society” by Donald Spoto sums this post up so well in talking about my two favour Style Icons;
Audrey & Grace… both exhibited a natural refinement and were unfailingly courteous to colleagues and strangers, but these qualities were presented as the sum total of their personalities. They were nothing like goddesses in person, although they were certainly beautiful, stylish and always considerate. They were women to respect.
Lets cultivate a new generation of women who our young people can respect, who take notes from the style icons but ultimately love who they are and love having fun with style, fashion and the quirky things that make us who we are. Embrace it ladies, let me know your style icons and ideas…
Lots of Love
Olive & Emxxxxx