Grace Kelly & Edith Head – A Powerful Combination

Grace Kelly (1929 – 1982) during her lifetime set a record for style, both in dress and lifestyle. She was a brilliant Academy Award winning Hollywood actress, who willingly gave up the lure of the spotlights to marry her Prince and live in a fairytale kingdom until her tragic death in 1982. She was beautiful, elegant and for many baby boomer’s like myself, our icon of fashion. She knew fashion is really all about wearing what suits you and wearing it well.  Some of the fabulous frocks from her spectacular wardrobe that featured in the recent show at the Bendigo Art Gallery in Victoria were indeed special. For me however, more than those by the famous fashion houses, the dresses designed by Hollywood costume icon Edith Head were the ones I responded to most. Edith Head was nominated 35 times and won eight Academy Awards, an extraordinary feat. She knew how to dress her models for success, including Grace Kelly. It was her ability to ‘get inside’ her client’s psyche and produce clothes that brought out the best in them that was her secret. She also knew that less was more, which in her day might not have always gone down well. Edith Head designed outfits for Grace Kelly in the Alfred Hitchcock thrillers Rear Window, with James Stewart and To Catch a Thief with Cary Grant, her last film for Alfred Hitchcock; Grace became Princess Grace of Monaco in 1956. Who can ever forget the fabulous outfits Grace Kelly wore to impress Cary, especially the black and white number with the black peddle pushers, black halter neck top, white overskirt, black sandals and fabulous black and white hat to go down to the beach ! We were all as overwhelmed as Cary was when he saw her walking towards him in the Hotel at Nice’s lobby. Simple and sensational!

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