It’s difficult to imagine having someone design clothes just for you. And what a lucky lady Grace Kelly was to have Edith Head, Maggy Rouff, Helen Rose and Oleg Cassini amongst others.
I loved the Grace Kelly exhibition at the V&A and found it fascinating to see the costumes from High Society and some of Grace’s other films (as well as the clothes she wore later in her life off screen) and was surprised to learn that MGM actually gave Grace, a dozen of the Helen Rose-desiged outfits from the film High Society. They were created for the films summer resort setting and Helen Rose apparently pointed out they would be ideal for wearing on the Riviera, during her honeymoon, following her marriage to Prince Rainier.
Edith Head, Helen Rose and other theatrical/film costume designers in particular, had a knack of taking couture ideas and picking up on the fashion of the day – making the outfits they designed seem more accessible to the female audiences.
What made a style icon in the fifties is different to what we class as a style icon today. Then, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy discovered the style that suited them, understood what made them look good and stuck to these principles (without looking too samey or boring). Todays icons such as Michelle Obama and Lady Gaga, wear styles and colours from so many different designers that it is difficult to identify any one particular style.
Simple, understated styles were favoured. Often in plain colours without pattern. So that Grace wore the clothes – the clothes didn’t wear Grace. In other words her style and personality shone through – we could see the real person. This cannot be said of todays Icons and perhaps there is something to be learned for our own wardrobes.
Autumn winter 2010 is very much about understatement and pared back chic. The bling and excess of previous years is far less evident. That goes for design, embelishments and handbags.
Quick tip: Once you’ve dressed take one thing off before you go out.
Who’s your favourite LIVING style icon?