Style Icon: Grace Kelly


The name Grace Kelly evokes ethereal images of flowing satin, pinched waistlines and delicate pearls. Impeccable dresses and perfect hair —  almost dream-like — spring to mind.

Three decades after her passing, her name is still synonymous with flawless style and effortless elegance. Yet this isn’t the only reason why Kelly remains an enduring style icon more than sixty years after her film debut. What she is remembered for in the fashion world, and what makes her such an icon over half a decade later, is her determined individualism and fearlessness when it came to wearing the clothes that she liked.

Kelly was one of the first actresses who cultivated her own consistent, signature style - easily recognisable by her simple, refined and elegant dress sense. When other stars at the time followed the fads, Kelly created a mould for herself. Not only did she know what she suited, but she never followed the fashions on a whim: she decided what was fashionable. It has meant that her style has become timeless, enduring the ages. Unafraid to mix up more masculine items at a time when women were expected to be the vision of feminine beauty, she crafted timeless pieces, the likes of which could easily be emulated today.

“Three decades after her passing, her name is still synonymous with flawless style and effortless elegance.”

The film and fashion industries can be highly pressurised, with stars bowing to the pressure of expectation that surround them. If they’re not wearing a new outfit then stars are slated in tabloids. And this is what set Kelly apart. Although she retired from film at age 26, she definitely left her mark. Unafraid to re-wear clothes, she created an iconic dress sense based around the same staple items. When asked “Isn’t that a nine year old coat?”, she replied “yes, and I like it”. She fearlessly re-wore her gown from a previous premier to the 1955 Oscars and summed up her common-sense approach by saying: “I just buy clothes when they take my eye, and I wear them for years”. She considered herself ‘loyal to her old clothes’, just the way she was loyal to old friends.

Knowing that she looked best wearing minimal makeup with her hair pulled back off her face, she decided to stay that way, saying, “I had to follow what I knew was right for me.” She also avoided overly sexualised clothing, preferring to stay away from too blatant curves, too tight dresses or too lavish furs. This is what makes Grace Kelly an enduring style icon: not her flawless evening gowns or perfect wardrobe, but her commitment to her individual style, her determination to wear what she liked, and her ability to wear what she wanted.

Here are just some of our favourite Kelly looks:

1. Her ice-blue satin gown for the 1955 Oscars (that she was unafraid to wear twice)

2. Her classic tomboy chic style

3. Her cat-eye sunglasses

4. High waisted pants at the Cannes Film Festival 

5. Full evening gown in Rear Window (1954)


StyleLucy ClayComment