Today marks the 60th anniversary of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 thriller Rear Window starring the always-dapper James Stewart and breathtakingly elegant Grace Kelly. Growing up, I remember watching this classic, among many, man others, with my mother so hence why I hold an affinity for such films today. Rear Window is the story of L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies (Stewart) who is confined to a wheelchair while his broken leg heals. He spends his home-bound days and nights spying on his neighbors from his rear apartment window. Later, he and his fashionable girlfriend, Lisa Fremont (Kelly), find themselves in the middle of a neighborhood murder mystery.
Rear Window is one of my all-time favorite films from the 1950s. Every dress, handbag and accessory Kelly wore in the motion picture is like a piece of art – especially her ‘fresh off the Paris plane’ dress designed by legendary couturier Edith Head (without a doubt the most famous movie costumer of all time). Head’s creation is stunning (to say the least) – a fitted black bodice sitting off the shoulder with a deep double-sided v-cut cascading to the bust (front) and small of the back (rear). Layers upon layers of white chiffon and tulle are gathered to reveal a full, tea-length skirt embellished with a branch pattern on the hip and black patent leather belt. Kelly’s iconic look is finished off with a white chiffon shoulder wrap, black sandals, a pair of white elbow-length silk gloves and a single strand of pearls.
I love the moment when Kelly opens her leather Mark Cross valise to reveal a satin négligée, fur-clad slippers and whispers innocently, “A preview of coming attractions.” This is brilliant and by far, the best scene in the entire film. The starlet’s notable eau de nil (pale green in French) suit is impeccable to say the least with its midi-length jacket complete with perched collar and matching pencil skirt. A simple, but refined white silk halter gathered at the waist is the perfect addition to her suit. Kelly’s breathtaking look is finished off with a white pillbox hat and half veil (this is everything!!), a single strand of pearls, ornate stud earrings and a dazzling pearl bracelet dressed with lavish lockets. Rear Window is certainly ranked among the most iconic works in fashion and film history.