A classic beauty of Irish descent, brought up in Philadelphia by a family excelling in sports and business, started her career as a model but turned into Alfred Hitchcock's muse, Hollywood’s brightest star, and real-life princess. Grace’s natural beauty, athletic figure, and talent shone bright during the Golden Age of TV, and then on set of ‘Rear Window’, ‘Dial M for Murder’, ‘To Catch a Thief’, and other classic films, earning her the Best Actress Oscar for ‘The Country Girl’, her least glamorous role. Costume designer Edith Head created for her movie parts and official appearances 50s silhouettes with a soft, romantic touch that remain as the red carpet norm.
The Princess Look
Ever since her breakthrough performance in ‘Mogambo’, her looks were infused with star quality and regal elegance. Ethereal Grecian gowns, fit & flare tea-length dresses, strappy sandals, bejeweled clutches, and white gloves had a dreamy, aristocratic effect. Style-wise, her transition to Princess Grace of Monaco was very smooth. At 26 she retired from Hollywood and acting but never pulled from real glamour. She just added big sunnies, dramatic hats and turbans. For her wedding to Prince Rainier III, MGM costume designer Helen Rose created the ultimate princess wedding gown along with thirty five tailors who worked with silk needle lace, faille, tulle, and seed pearls for six weeks.
Simplicity is Timeless
Grace was humble, genuine, and confident in her looks. She recycled favorite wardrobe pieces linked to special moments in her life. Neutral colors, soft shapes and investment accessories made her personal style effortless, combined with the ‘fresh-faced’ makeup. Her day outfits translated into cropped pants, jeans, shirts, and Pringle of Scotland twin-sets with ‘college girl’ innocence. She was looking ‘a million bucks’ even in the affordable ‘non-iron’ dress from McCall Patterns she was limited to wear on her first date to Prince Rainier, due to a last-minute power outage at her hotel!
A Fashionable Closet
Floral prints and headgear accounted for many of her photogenic images. Pearl or diamond chokers and studs from Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier, worked perfectly with her blonde hair. Headscarves and neck-tied squares, added an extra touch of color. She owned a great collection of statement outerwear, including fur coats and stoles. She complemented her outfits with classic pumps. Her haute couture dresses were designed by Mark Bohan for Christian Dior, Chanel, Givenchy, Balenciaga, and close friend Oleg Cassini. Yves Saint Laurent made for her the famous ‘Mondrian’ dress and Hermès named ‘Kelly’ the bag she was often holding.