For a while now, I have been playing with the idea of a series dedicated to summer style, and especially summer holiday style. As always when in doubt, I resumed to the classics. And, as always, it’s all about the timeless classics, what, for me at least, doesn’t translate into vintage (much too often, there is a connotation of old-fashioned to the word, and classic style is anything but), but into something that could be easily revived with maybe minor adjustments and fit into our modern wardrobes. I couldn’t have started this new series with anyone else but Grace Kelly.
At first, this blog post looked entirely different, with completely different photographs of Grace. Then I decided to do a little more research and when I found the top photo, my perspective changed. All the images you see here were taken by the same photograph, Howell Conant, during Grace Kelly’s holiday in Jamaica, in 1955. She was the one who insisted for him to come along and the photo shoot ended up in the pages of Colliers magazine. Conant would become her favourite photographer, and after Grace’s wedding to Prince Rainier, the photographer of the Monegasque royal family. I loved the idea of showcasing Grace’s summer style from only one destination and from the same year, because it tells a story and because it’s such a great seaside vacation lookbook: from one piece and two-pieces swimsuits, plain or printed, beach dresses, shorts, relaxed-fit shirts, head scarves and straw hats, to polo shirts worn with pearl bracelets, and a little more elegant dresses for the evening.
I believe summer is such a great season for personal style to come through. It’s when you are most at ease and more relaxed in your dressing choices that your natural self comes to life. Haven’t you ever felt that you are most beautiful with no make-up at all and without a fancy dress on? Then you know what I mean. This very off-duty, unstudied beauty of Grace and a carefree and uninhibited feeling are what shine through here. “You trusted Grace’s beauty. You knew it was natural, unpretentious,” Conant would say.
I went to see Grace of Monaco last week. I didn’t have any expectations and I was right not to. I had a slight interest in the costumes, and that was it. I can’t honestly say that I was disappointed in Nicole Kidman’s performance, because I hadn’t thought for one second that anyone could ever play Grace. She was one of a kind and nobody could ever measure up to her innate grace and elegance. And as beautiful as the costumes may have been, they weren’t worn by Grace Kelly, or Princess Grace of Monaco, if you like, and that was the big difference. It all resumes to the woman who wears the dress.
photos: Howell Conant, Jamaica, 1955 | Click on images to enlarge