Wednesday 7 December 2016

Iconic Fashion in Film: Grace Kelly in Rear Window

Sinead Van Kampen

Published 23/02/2011 | 12:01

1954: American actress Grace Kelly (1929 - 1982) plays the inquisitive heroine of the crime drama 'Rear Window', directed by Alfred Hitchcock. (Photo by Bud Fraker/John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)
1954: American actress Grace Kelly (1929 - 1982) plays the inquisitive heroine of the crime drama 'Rear Window', directed by Alfred Hitchcock. (Photo by Bud Fraker/John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)

The already iconic Oscar nominated Black Swan costume designs (see Jim Carrey dressed as a black swan on Saturday Night Live) have inspired us, at Independent Woman, to ask ourselves what are the most stylish films of all time?

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Grace Kelly in Rear Window

More cameo than supporting role, Grace Kelly as Lisa Freemont in Hitchcock's Rear Window is a fashionista's tour de force. Asymmetric straps, fitted bodices, elbow length silk gloves and that famous Hermés Kelly Bag all make an appearance in the five outfits she manages to get through during a performance that Hitchcock likened to being something like 'A snow-covered volcano'.

Refusing to pad out her dresses to flatter her figure, Grace Kelly was never the archetypal Hollywood bombshell. She followed rather than made fashion but in Rear Window she was able to call on the the brilliance of Edith Head for costume design. The result was clean lines, chiffon layering and elegant sophistication which became the template of a style for which the future Princess Grace would become world famous. Dior dubbed the look the Y-shape, and although she didn't invent the aesthetic, in Rear Window Grace Kelly became the very hallmark of 1950s femininity.

Snappy, elegant and perfectly cast as the modern socialite, Hitchcock, Kelly and Edith Head helped to make one of film's most feminine heroines and for Grace Kelly, the daughter of an Irish immigrant bricklayer once banned from rowing with real gentleman on the grounds of having engaged in 'menial labour', it was her look in Rear Window that helped to catch her an Oscar and her very own royal husband.

Signature look: Very ballerina chic - all couture gowns and chiffon shoulder wraps.

Fashion legacy: The invention of the Hermes overnight bag

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