The True Sea

The human mind, old films, literature and podcasts.

The timeless fashion of Grace of Monaco

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Disclosure: I was gifted two cinema tickets to Grace of Monaco by Glitzy Secrets but all words, apart from one quote, are my own.Grace of Monaco (2014) is an American French film which speculates on the story of former Hollywood star Grace Kelly during a dispute between her husband Prince Rainer III and France’s then President Charles De Gaulle over tax laws in the early 60s. In the film, the dispute prompts the princess to turn down an offer by Alfred Hitchcock to return to acting. The film is directed by Olivier Dahan who is best known for the award-winning Édith Piaf biopic, La Vie en Rose (2007).The focus of this review will be on the film’s fantastic costume design by Gigi Lepage rather than the story. Frankly, it’s much more interesting. I’m sad to say that I found the film uninspiring. It doesn’t seem sure of what it wants to be. It’s a bit camp but not enough to be labelled camp. To me, it felt mostly like a farce. My guess is that most of the film’s storyline is fictional. After all, Grace Kelly’s children say that the film is historically inaccurate. This is but one of the reasons why the film is mired in controversy.I found it odd that Hitchcock is portrayed as such an endearing man. As you all know, I absolutely adore Hitchcock but I reckon this portrayal of him is pretty far from the truth. Also, he never went after Grace Kelly for Marnie (1964). She came to him and the real reason she didn’t do the film in the end is quite different from the reason the film gives you. Another thing that struck me as odd was the casting of Tim Roth, one of my favourite actors, as the prince. He did a great job making the film come across as farcical. And although Nicole Kidman didn’t convince me that she was Grace Kelly, her performance was flawless as always.When I think of Grace Kelly, I think of Hitchcock’s fantastic Rear Window (1954). I think about how graceful she was and how her hair was always immaculate. But above all, I think of her impeccable sense of style. But back to the film. It’s beautifully shot – every single frame is gorgeous. It really is a glamorous melodramatic fairy tale in every sense.

Gigi Lepage was inspired by the fashion spirit of the 60s so Nicole Kidman’s outfits are not historically correct, though Lepage did use photos of Grace Kelly as inspiration for specific scenes. Everything Nicole Kidman wore in the film was stunning but the one thing that made most of an impression on me and my housemate was the eyewear. She wore some rather gorgeous cat eye glasses.I love the fact that Kidman’s custom made wardrobe is mainly from the Parisian fashion houses that dressed the princess herself. The list is quite impressive:

“The house of Christian Dior reproduced two magnificent women’s suits designed by Marc Bohan, then artistic director of Dior. Chanel collaborated with us in recreating a suit ensemble. Hermes helped us for her scarves as well as Kelly handbag archives. For shoes, we contacted Salvatore Ferragamo & Jimmy Choo. All her gloves were made exclusively by Maison Fabre. Alexandre Barthet, son of Jean Barthet who was the princess’s milliner designed the hats & lastly, Philippine Pinton, granddaughter of François Pinton, Grace of Monaco’s eyewear designer, designed the eyewear for us. Lastly, Swarovski came on board for the realisation of the crystal ball gown.” – Gigi Lepage

If you’re into vintage fashion, I highly recommend you watch it just for the costume design.

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