Grace Kelly wore her clothes well. Although she was styled in many an iconic dress, they never seemed to wear her. She was never overpowered by her clothes and the clothes she wore were cut to perfection. On screen, her costumes were famously designed by Edith Head and Helen Rose. These relationships extended to Kelly’s personal life with Rose designing her wedding dress. The structured, symmetrical styles of the 1950s are often referenced for their sleek, feminine silhouettes. Elegant, romantic, and classic clean lines define Grace Kelly’s timeless style and work in any decade.
Elie Saab: Romantic
Out of all the runway shows this spring, Elie Saab is the designer that effortlessly captures Grace Kelly’s romantic silver screen style. Almost every dress was embellished with embroidery or appliqués and featured a soft, delicate color palette. It’s easy to picture Grace Kelly wearing these styles today.
At the start of his career, Saab specialized in bridal couture and has remained faithful to that ethereal and glamorous aesthetic as he broadened his collections. Fitted bodices, elegant draping and swirls of fabric meticulously adorned with crystals, pearls and floral inspired patterns.
On the surface, the connection between Schiaparelli couture and Grace Kelly’s style is not obvious. To be fair, avant-garde is not often uttered in the same breath as elegant. But there is a link, an almost direct line between the surrealist design house and some of Kelly’s film costumes: Drama.
Elsa Schiaparelli was mentored by master couturier Paul Poiret who was known for his innovation, his silhouettes and his draping skills. Schiaparelli was an inventive and bold designer and her training alongside Poiret resulted in impeccable, architectural constructions. In 2019, Daniel Rosenberry was appointed Creative Director and has revived the timeless motifs of the house.
For Schiaparelli’s Spring 2023 collection, the silhouette is in extreme focus with an emphasis on the waist. Similarly, in the 1950s, a nipped in waist and full skirt were emerging as the dominant silhouette. In “To Catch a Thief” Grace Kelly wears a swimsuit and cover-up that resembles a dress. This is the kind of “trompe-l’oeil” that Schiaparelli’s house codes were founded on. Then and now, the shape is fitted and ultra feminine, visually striking and theatrical.
Viktor & Rolf: Feminine
For spring 2023, Viktor & Rolf showcased corset-waisted ballgowns. The bodices were tightly draped in layers of tulle, paralleled in the gown worn by Kelly in To Catch a Thief. These gauzy, feminine creations were made for theatrical entrances.
Christian Dior: Timeless Tailoring
Although inspired by 1920’s elegance and a subtle homage to Josephine Baker’s performance wear, it’s Dior’s tailored suiting that brings to mind Grace Kelly’s off-duty style. The cut and shape continues to look modern to this day which speaks to the timeless heirloom dressing established in the 1950’s.
Over at Fendi, Kim Jones revisited “goddess-dressing”. Floaty fabrics impeccably draped, pleated and gathered at the waist for definition. Modern elegance with a nod to vintage evening dressing.