In today’s society, our ideals of beauty are ever changing - one day it’s the likes of Giselle Bündchen with her mile-long legs and perfectly shiny hair, and the next day it’s Beyoncé with her womanly curves. They swiftly come and go, leaving small traces behind. There are very few women whose style and beauty remains eternal and ethereal today. Not only does the classic icon have to dress exquisitely, yet in an understated way, but she has to influence how other women dress, and rather than conform to the defining looks of her time, she has to cultivate her own image and set the trends herself.
Jackie Kennedy for instance, was not just the wife of the president of the US. As First Lady, she was the epitome of style and elegance in the 60s. From her impossibly chic tailored suits, to exquisite details such as elbow-length crisp white satin gloves and her three-strand pearl necklace, Jackie O is not only credited with making politics à la mode but also in inspiring women around the world to downplay glamour in fashion, and instead dress in understated chic ensembles. Of course, every iconic woman has a long-lasting outfit; in her case it was the pink Chanel suit and pillbox hat that she wore on the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated, dubbed “the most legendary garment in American history.
”Grace Kelly, famous to the public for having the Hermés Kelly bag named after her, but known to the fashion world as a woman of porcelain beauty and ability to make even the simplest outfits look nonchalantly glamorous. Her rare charm and remarkable self-possession propelled her to Hollywood, where she became a successful actress - starring in Oscar-winning film ‘The Country Girl’ and the classic ‘To Catch a Thief,’ a personal favourite, where her light blue gown still makes people swoon. Early in her life, she told her sister Peggy, “One day I’m going to be a princess” and proved to be one of the only girls whose Cinderella fairytale dream became true. In fact, her pinnacle came when she became the princess of Monaco; the news set off a whirlwind press, followed by Grace becoming a worldwide icon, with her fitted cashmere sweaters, perfectly cuffed blonde hair and satin night gowns not only inspiring women of her age, but the world today - becoming almost a muse for designers from Tommy Hilfiger to Zac Posen. Her style, along with her poise and inner fire under that innocent charm, were what made her one of today’s icons. According to Blair Waldorf, from the popular TV show Gossip Girl, the phrase “I am Grace Kelly. Grace Kelly is me” repeated a few times in one’s head, will turn any moment of fury to one of infinite calmness.
It is both these women, along with Bianca Jagger, the queen of the white suit, Jane Birkin - an everlasting icon of Parisian bohème chic, and many others, who created the basis of what we today consider off-duty classic looks than can be worn with anything and anywhere, when one needs a break from edgy-fashion forward pieces.