Fashion & Film: Grace Kelly in Rear Window

Posted: Jun 14 2017

At first glance, "Rear Window" may not look like a fashion movie.  In fact, the Alfred Hitchcock thriller is a rather gruesome murder mystery.  However, from the moment Grace Kelly sashays into Jimmy Stewart’s apartment, we realize that we are in for a fashion treat.  She makes his stifling hot, well-worn bachelor pad her Parisian runway.  Black designer gowns, pale green tweed suits, feminine floral day dresses and one very risqué negligee provide beautiful distractions as the scary and suspenseful plot unfolds.  By the end of the movie, you desire her wardrobe as much as you desire to catch the killer.

Like Holly Golightly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Grace Kelly’s character, Lisa Fremont, is a fashionable young woman searching for love and stability in New York City.  However, unlike Holly Golightly, she is very sure of what she wants, and that is Jimmy Stewart’s character Jeff, a rough around the edges war photographer.  Instead of staring through Tiffany’s front window, Lisa spends her time staring through an apartment rear window trying to help Jeff solve a murder mystery.  As they grow closer to catching the killer, they also grow closer in their relationship.  In the beginning of the movie, Lisa wears mostly black designer gowns.  However, as their relationship blossoms, so does her wardrobe.  She models a pale green tweed suit, a white chiffon halter blouse, and even a peach floral day dress to break into the suspect’s apartment.

One thing we love about this movie is the important role handbags play in the plot.  Although it would be easy to sit back and simply admire the black and tan leather box bags so popular in the 1950s, we would miss the significance of the bags to the plot line.  In one crucial scene, Lisa deducts that leaving a beautiful handbag behind when you embark on an important trip is the one thing no self-respecting fashionable woman would ever do.  Her insight proves crucial to solving the case and reveals Lisa is not only a stylish sleuth, but also a very smart one.  You spend most of the movie wondering why it is taking Jeff so long to appreciate this perfect woman.  Thank goodness he realizes in the end that what he wants most was inside his apartment all along!


 Grace Kelly as "Lisa Fremont" arrives on-screen in "Rear Window"


One of the beautiful black gowns she wears in the movie


Risqué negligee!


 You need a beautiful floral day dress for breaking into a suspect's apartment


 The important role handbags play in solving the mystery


A perfect ending! 


Images via "Rear Window" Paramount Pictures