Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Timeless Style of Classic Cinema: Part 1

When I'm not watching classic film, I'm vintage-clothing obsessed, and constantly trying to recreate the vintage look for myself. The looks are so feminine, flattering, stunning, and timeless...  the classic lines of the clothes just never age. How can I help myself? (I was born in the wrong era, I know!)

In the Golden Age of Hollywood, some of the most timeless, intricately crafted, and fabulous clothing was showcased in film. As a result, many style icons are classic film stars.

This post will be a two-parter. Part 1 of this Vintage Style in Cinema Tribute focuses on the top timeless fashion icons of Hollywood's Golden Age... the men and women who wore the clothes and made them famous. Part 2 will focus on the amazing designers (Edith Head, Helen Rose, Adrian, Jean Louis, Hubert de Givenchy, and more) that made these stars style icons. While the stars wore the clothes and made the designers and styles famous, the designers are the ones who are responsible for the looks that we still love today.

Here are my picks for the essential timeless style icons of classic film. Feel free to weigh in with your faves!


1) Grace Kelly: Ultimate Style and Grace 

Stunning in To Catch a Thief
Grace represents the "classic" look: clean lines, simple, ever timeless. We envision her as a the master of the casual scarf and sunglasses, the ultimate blushing bride, a Grecian goddess, and, if that weren't enough, a perfect formal dress wearer. Ultimately, movie star-turned-Princess Grace is an icon of both casual and formal style. She never wore lots of makeup, she was happy to wear her prescription glasses in public, and yet, we envision her as perhaps the class act of all time. Her lesson for all women: keep it simple, be yourself, and it will be classy.

Goddess Grace in her final film, High Society
Neutral colours with the pop of red in the kerchief: divine... not to mention those sunglasses!

2) Audrey Hepburn: The Effortless Everywoman

Beautiful in black: Audrey in Sabrina

Audrey: the proponent of modern chic. The master of the Little-Black-Dress phenomenon. The phrase "That's so Audrey" is uttered all the time today as women strive to create outfits that Audrey would be proud of. Working hand in hand with clothing designer Hubert de Givenchy from 1953 to the end of her life, the two crafted a look that can only be called "Audrey." While Grace Kelly represented the style of  a Princess that was almost unattainable, Audrey came along and made outfits seem possible for every woman. Today, every time we wear that perfect black dress, tailored capri pants, and flat shoes, we can thank Audrey for introducing them to the world and making us believe we could dress like her.

Adorable in Funny Face (look at those white flats!)

The first (and most perfect) LBD: Breakfast at Tiffany's

3) Cary Grant: Classic Timelessness

Jacket-less and still completely modern today

Cary Grant's look on film never seems old or dated. He could wear his grey suit from North By Northwest or his tux from Notorious, and fit right in today. Women want to date Cary Grant because of his perfect style, and men want to be Cary Grant because of his constantly immaculate image. His impeccable style, paired with his charming wit and sense of humour, are what make him a lasting style icon. These qualities made his perfect style approachable; we always knew he was our onscreen friend even if he always looked otherworldly. It has been said that Cary could effortlessly pick a suit off the hanger and wear it perfectly. He knew what looked good, he had the foresight to know that classic lines, patternless clothes, and simple looks would always be timeless.

Black suit, black tie, white shirt: perfection.

The essence of Cary: Impeccable, approachable, relaxed, joyful.

4) Gene Kelly: Ever-Modern Casual

GAP Ad: "Gene Kelly wore khakis." Did he ever!

Gene Kelly's classic and clean casual looks are ageless: he was one of the first men to wear jeans on film, and boy, did he wear them well. He represented the everyman, and, as a result, danced in street clothes on film all the time. It's no wonder GAP did a series of ads with him as their poster boy for khakis a few years back. Gene's looks transcend time due to their simplicity and modern feel. He made casual sexy on film, and must be part of the reason Gene still has such a huge fan base of young women. Gene said he used to receive mash notes in the 1990s from women in their 20s thinking he was their age... in no small part due to his fab casual and ageless fashion sense! His clothing has never aged, and so, neither has he!

Gene rockin' jeans on the set of Summer Stock

Sweater and khakis: relaxed, casual, ageless.

Who are your timeless film style icon picks? I want to hear them! And stay tuned for Part 2: The Timeless Designers for Classic Film.

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