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Brooklyn Gal

What Grace, What Style

Bathing beauty Grace Kelly

We’re not usually huge fans of ladies’ fashions from the 1950s – too much pouf in the skirt, far too many poodles – and let’s not even get started on those cone-shaped breasts. But that was before the Brooklyn Gal experienced the 1956 gem High Society starring Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra with a musical cameo from Louis Armstrong.

Truly a stellar cast, but in our book they played second fiddle to Miss Kelly’s wondrous wardrobe, dreamed up by MGM’s chief costume designer, Helen Rose. Obviously no style slouch, no matter the production, Grace Kelly was captivating in even the simplest ensembles like a khaki button-down shirt and pleated khaki trousers. Normally the Brooklyn Gal would have found such an outfit a big fat yawn – khaki-shmaki – who cares? But Kelly cinched the waist of her neutral slacks with a marvelous brown leather belt and finished the oh-so-casual sportswear look with burnt-orange espadrilles. Talk about style punch. Ka-pow! Pouting poolside, her gorgeous gams dangling in the water, Kelly sported a white bathing suit with gold buttons and a flirty little skirt – who knew that swimwear could be so very elegant?

And on her wedding day she truly dazzled, greeting Frank and Bing the morning after a pre-nuptials bender in a calf-grazing fairytale number that must have sent a million would-be brides straight to their dressmakers for a spot-on replica.

Actually, the Brooklyn Gal read in movie lore that one of the soigné gowns that Rose created for High Society turned out to be the launching pad for the design of Kelly’s real-life wedding gown. It seems that Kelly didn’t walk the aisle in Christian Dior or Cristóbal Balenciaga or any of the fashion heavyweights of the era. Instead, she married Prince Rainer of Monoco in a Helen Rose confection.

That’s what we call a Hollywood wedding.


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