The Rear Window Dress

Here is another tardy post. Seeing so many pledges to stash-bust this year has prompted me to stop procrastinating, though being home sick with a cold hasn’t seemed to help my productivity this week. But today I’m feeling  a little better, and I’m just restless enough to drag myself to my computer to share some finished projects that have been waiting in the posting queue.

Last time we spoke, Cordelia was modeling a lovely thrift-store find for us.

Black and white plus size gown found in a thrift store.

This is not something that I would ever wear. But I knew there must be a reason I was drawn to the dress when I first saw it hanging on the rack. If I could discover what it was, perhaps I would know how best to repurpose this piece. Was it the asymmetrical chiffon overskirt? Maybe. The black and white floral print? Nah. The neckline? Definitely not.

I explored the construction of the garment. Took a peek at the inside seams. Pretty normal. Held the fabric against my body and took a look at the silhouette in the mirror. Too big, too long, not really special. Ran my fingers through the layers of netting. Lots to work with, at least. Lifted the overskirt. And that is when I knew.

Black and white Paris dress worn by Grace Kelly.
A creation of the very talented Edith Head, worn by the very talented and lovely Grace Kelly in Alfred Hitchcock’s brilliant film Rear Window.

When I first saw Rear Window at the approximate age of 10, I fell in love with a lot of things. Mystery stories, Grace Kelly, and Jimmy Stewart were among them. And that dress was at the top of the list.

An Internet search yielded a wealth of images for consideration. The garment was as beautiful and elegant as I remembered.

Still photo of Gracy Kelly in a dress from Rear Window.
A beautiful ballet-length skirt. And look at those shoes. She even has pretty feet.

My mission was to repurpose the dress as a vintage-inspired look. And now, with the proper inspiration (after some hours of drooling over gorgeous publicity stills and Edith Head sketches from the archive—for no one ever completes an Internet image search after finding only what they are looking for), I knew exactly what I wanted to create.

Grace Kelly Barbie doll in Rear Window dress
No, I’m not going to make doll clothes. This was a random image that I came across while doing visual research—a term which makes looking at photos online sound so much more productive. Grace Kelly limited-edition Barbie doll, anyone? I can imagine the stager for the photographer trying to get those gloves on her arms and over her teeny thumbs. I used to have Barbie gloves. It was not easy.
Grace Kelly in a scene from Rear Window.
A scene from the color movie, in which Lisa Carol Fremont (Grace Kelly) confides the dress has just arrived from Paris. Just to prove that, you know, the dress really is black and white.

Next up, planning it all out.


8 responses to “The Rear Window Dress”

  1. tanya maile Avatar

    That’s one of my favorite dresses! I can’t wait to see the finished product!

  2. Laurie Avatar

    I love Grace Kelly and the clothes she wore including the “Rear Window” dress. As a matter of fact she is on my list of “inspirational clothing I would like to imitate”… I am so looking forward to your make. I can’t wait to see it!

  3. EmSewCrazy` Avatar

    This is going to be FABulous! Can’t wait to see how it goes!

    1. Aunty Laura Avatar
      Aunty Laura

      Thanks for your support! It’s going to be fun.

  4. KimP Avatar

    Can’t wait to see your creation! I’m in the middle of recreating Tippi Hedren’s green suit she wore in “The Birds” also designed by Edith Head.!

  5. Lynn Avatar

    I love both dresses. I love the thrift store find as is but I also like the Rear Window dress and can hardly wait to see your version.

  6. prttynpnk Avatar

    Gorgeous dress- its for sashayin’!

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