In fashion, there is something that I like to called The Holy Trinity of Style. Consisting of three women all born in the same year, the Trinity is the epitome of elegance, timelessness, and are always cited as icons. One-third of the Trinity is Grace Kelly. Born in 1929 (the same year as fellow Trinity members Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy) to a wealthy Philadelphian family, Grace Kelly personified regal beauty with an air that only true royalty could achieve.
Everything that Grace wore - from espadrilles, capris, Helen Rose designed gowns, to her ubiquitous Hermes Kelly beg and silk scarf tied around her neck or over her hair - screamed style. Her look was timeless, and is constantly channeled and rechanneled on the runways. She stuck to what worked for her body her entire life - light makeup, soft curled blonde hair, and tailored feminine pieces were constants. Grace adored to wear headscarves, and hats of any variety - from white wide-brimmed straw hats to small beaded pillbox hats - with outfits casual or formal. The magic of Grace is just this: whether casual or formal, she always looked the part. She was a blend of regal ice queen and warm-hearted starlet from a large family. She relied upon classic tailored pieces, and never was caught up in following trends. She was even for wearing the same dress twice! She wore a light blue satin dress to both the premiere of The Country Girl and the 1954 Oscars ceremony - and completely pulled off a repeated look that has now been sighted as elegance in its purest Hollywood form.
It is nearly impossible to separate her style on and off the screen, as her career namely consisted of playing successful, wealthy (and icy) women. Her outfits in To Catch a Thief (think bright summer clothes on the Riviera), Rear Window (the wardrobe of a Manhattan sartorial queen), and High Society (channeling something very similar to her real-life: a Philadelphian socialite) are of particular note.
Though some people cite her acting skills to be subpar to her style skills, with her affected Continental accent being called upon more than once as proof, I love watching Grace on the screen. She lights up every frame she is in with warmth, beauty, and excitement. She never goes unnoticed when she is onscreen. An interesting excerpt from Grace Kelly: A Life in Pictures quoted Grace admitting her disdain for her role as a fashion icon. She said that "the publicity created around my brand image, made exemplary above others, sometimes annoyed me enormously. It's tiresome to be always cited as an example."
After eleven films (and one Oscar for her role as a dowdy, neglected wife in The Country Girl), Kelly retired from the film industry and married Prince Rainier of Monaco, dedicating the rest of her life to her family and new home. Though she nearly came out of retirement in 1964 to star in Hitchcock's psychodrama Marnie, she ultimately had to turn it down upon disapproval by the people of Monaco. She would never act publicly again.