It was a dark and stormy night. Actually, the conditions were more blizzard-like, but you get my point. I was alone in an old, creaky house in the middle of the woods. And by “alone,” I mean my small children were asleep upstairs, but I was the only person capable of fending off a serial killer, and honestly, I had my doubts. Anyway, it was a creepy night: no passing cars, no reassuring lights of the neighbor’s house, just howling wind and a forest full of psychopaths intent on killing me for sport.
There is only one thing that can calm my panic in a situation like this: Alfred Hitchcock. No, of course I don’t mean the suspense, the terror, the prospect of birds pecking me to death.
I mean the Grace Kelly of it all. There is no greater movie ever made than Rear Window. (It’s true—look it up.) While my predators circled the house, dragging their axes behind them, curiously unable to find the front door, I crawled into bed with a bottle of wine, flipped open my laptop, and popped in the 1967 classic.
A few minutes later, there she was.
Grace Kelly in all her Grace Kellyness. The thick, silky hair; the glossy red lips; the waist that denies the existence of actual human organs. She is riveting. James Stewart is charming, too, of course. But he’s in her shadow pretty much the whole time.
Grace sweeps into every scene, a study in radiant, lustrous perfection. And every time I watch Rear Window—and we’re talking 30, 40, 90 times—I am reminded that I don’t know how to walk in heels. Not like that. And God help me, I don’t know how to warm brandy. Certainly not like it’s foreplay. Her dress billows. Her brows arch defiantly. Her smile curls into the most elegant of smirks. And watching her billow and arch and smirk on a blizzardy night is reassuring, comforting. And sparks a bit of nostalgia.
I didn’t grow up in Grace Kelly’s time. I was about five or six times later. Sometimes I have to remind myself how clueless I am compared with the women of that era. I think I know crimson lips? I think I have a clue about back-combing? I think I can say anything about winged liner? Well, Grace and Audrey and Ava all did it—and defined it—half a century ago. Respect.
More Inspo From Beautifully Strong Women:
Style Advice From None Other Than Grace Kelly
Watch: Power of Beauty Video Series
We shot this before Trump won and here’s why we still posted it…
This is supposed to be the time of year we pause, we reflect on what matters, and we send gratitude into the universe, all that. But this year it feels like it actually matters (sorry—my grumpy, ironic self commandeered the keyboard for a minute). Now, especially now, in this very ugly time cough, November 9, cough, wheeze, cry, sob, [gasp for air], it is more important than ever to find a source of beauty. And these women—these bastions of grace, these icons of strength—they have always been a source of comfort and inspiration. Now they are also a source of refuge and solace. They are a way to hide from scary thoughts in the woods.
I recently found out that there are people who have never heard of Grace Kelly. No, I’m serious! And a small handful of them might even work at Allure! Not lying! And I want to tell every last one of them that before Kylie and lip kits, before nail art and hashtags, before anyone #wokeuplikethis, before a billion followers and a million likes, there were giants.
Watch Grace Kelly’s beauty in its glory:
There was plenty in our country that wasn’t all that wonderful, of course. But you know what was great? These women. Even their perfection was real. They were as powerful as Raquel Welch in a loincloth. As stunning as Elizabeth Taylor ruling Egypt. As smart as Katharine Hepburn doing…anything Katharine Hepburn ever did.
I’m increasingly grateful for them, these heroines, these Girl Fridays, these intelligent, witty, powerful, striking women. I will always aspire to the presence and dignity that Grace Kelly has when she sweeps into that West Village apartment. I will always try and fail at the graceful liner and ruby-red lips. And most of all, I will find reassurance and comfort in knowing that America is pretty great already.
Regardless of whether or not I ever learn how to warm brandy.