Nearly three decades after her death, Grace Kelly remains a mystery. From a Hollywood starlet in the 1950s, then wife to Prince Rainier of Monaco — Grace Kelly was one of the most photographed and scrutinized women of all time. Despite the challenges that came with the spotlight, Grace Kelly never lost sight of who she was. Never failing to impress with her polished image and timeless beauty, she managed to keep her personal life private while staying forthright with the public. Her bigger than life persona continues to resonate with the modern audience and her style has had enduring appeal for generations. In essence, she was a simple girl with great manners. So what exactly is it that made Grace Kelly different?
Simplicity is the very thing that made her so special. Her genuine simplicity is the very thing that set her apart from her peers. In 1955, McCall’s magazine helped solve the riddle of Grace’s appeal, “The thing that made her stand out is what we call ‘style’.” That style was as much a part of her character as it was a part of her pretty clothing.
The simple manner that Grace approached fashion and life is a lesson that every woman should consider. It is neither the movie star nor princess title that one should covet from her story, rather the graceful and dignified way that she handled those roles. Grace Kelly precisely made herself into the woman that she is known to be. She was objective about her qualities and focused on bringing out the best of her features. She worked on perfecting her posture to a degree where she became known for it. Kelly also disregarded the flashy fashions of the time in favour of simple clothing, pinned-back hairstyles, and natural makeup. Her iconic wardrobe was comprised of understated gowns, tailored suits, low-heeled shoes, white glows and the iconic Hermes “Kelly” bag.
Clothing provided the blank canvas that highlighted her beauty. Her attainable style was favoured by young American women. The appeal of Grace Kelly remains clear in that women could then and now continue to identify with her. Within the fashion world, her signature style became known as the Grace Kelly Look. Despite being the highest paid actress, Kelly candidly admitted that she did not like to spend a lot of money on fashion and regarded her clothing as old friends that she liked to keep for a long time.
Grace Kelly’s simple frocks are not what elevated her to a style icon status; rather it was how she approached her everyday life. Regardless of her star status and princess notoriety, she stayed true to herself and it is her grace and poise that to this day continues to be admired.
In celebration of the eternal style of Grace Kelly, Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox offers a rare glimpse into the personal life of this icon in an exhibition, Grace Kelly: From Movie Star to Princess , which runs through January 22nd, 2012.
By Marta Tryshak www.WithLoveGabrielle.com