Thursday, April 29, 2010

All About Grace

No one embodied the 1950's ideal of immaculate perfection more than Grace Kelly and now the Victoria & Albert museum in London has dedicated a special exhibit to her iconic style from 17 April - 26 September 2010. Over the past two fashion seasons designers have been looking more and more towards mid-century styles with the hourglass figure seen on the Prada runway to references of Brigitte Bardot in the film And God Created Woman (1956) at Louis Vuitton. Perhaps designers are recognizing our longing for the days of exclusive and extravagant dress making from the golden years of haute couture after a decade of the ever growing high street clothing chains. Or, it could be a nostalgia for the times when an optimistic outlook of the future and unlimited growth were both realistic and within reach. Whatever the case is that has designers referencing the proper styles of the 1950's, Grace Kelly is our best inspiration for a time when it was acceptable to wear a dress more than once and staples such as twinsets and pearls were desirable. Honoring such choices seems to be appropriate considering consumer's latest mood of restraint.

Grace came to Hollywood already equipped with good taste in clothes, roles, and men. Known for her "nice girl" look, she soon became an icon for fashion and film. Alfred Hitchcock led her to stardom in films such as To Catch a Thief and Rear Window, which led to other films like High Society and The Swan. They all capture the essence of her look Hollywood was aiming to classicize. Costume designers Edith Head and Helen Rose played a major role in capturing the Kelly look. The ethereal image of Grace consisted of Greek goddess dresses made of chiffon and silk organza for evening and tailored dresses with fitted bodices and full skirts for day. Of course it was her marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco at age 26 that solidified her iconic status. Majestic and demure, her classic American style continues to inspire the fashion world today. Grace Kelly's style was more than mere clothes, their simplicity could only be carried off so stunningly by a such a strong persona.

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