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NEW YORK — Somewhere in Moscow, according to Vanity Fair’s Alexis Bryan, there’s a restaurant that offers small side tables — perfectly sized for an Hermès Kelly — on which diners can place their handbags. That entertaining tidbit was one of many tossed around at a party Tuesday night honoring the late Princess Grace of Monaco, proving just how expansive the reach of her sophisticated style can be. Bryan co-hosted the event, along with Tommy Hilfiger and Elizabeth Saltzman, at Gramercy Park Hotel’s Roof Club and Garden here, which turned exhibit space to 28 images of the princess. “She’s a femme fatale glossy blonde,” remarked Rufus Albemarle.
The cause for celebration that night: the Stateside debut of the book “Grace Kelly: A Life in Pictures,” first released in Europe late last year. Hilfiger wrote the introduction to the 200-pager and had a hand in its production from the inception. “The publisher [PHYB] approached me to do a book on an American icon and we chose Grace Kelly,” he said, adding that figures like Marilyn Monroe and James Dean were also in the running before the girl from Philadelphia-turned-princess won. Among the guests were two of the princess’ relatives: her nephew D. Christopher Le Vine and his daughter, Kelly Le Vine. And it seems the icon’s sense of fashion has trickled down the family tree: The younger Le Vine is currently studying costume design at Carnegie Mellon.
Of course, who hasn’t admired Kelly’s effortlessly elegant style? Marina Rust told of a friend who follows just one wardrobe rule: “She would ask herself, ‘Is this something Grace Kelly would wear getting out of a small white Mercedes?'”
Imitation of Christ designer Tara Subkoff, meanwhile, recalled a Kelly-inspired frock she made for Scarlett Johansson in 2005, for a press junket in Cannes, France. Other revelers included Allison Sarofim, Andrew Saffir, Rachel Roy, Elise Overland, Olivia Chantecaille, Fabiola Beracasa, Michael Houghton (aka Michael H.) and Genevieve Jones, who was busy flaunting her own jewelry designs.
With all the talk on Kelly’s timeless chic style then, was there anyone they thought might fit the bill as a modern-day Princess Grace? Most were hard-pressed to answer — except Hilfiger. The designer nominated his flaxen-haired girlfriend, Dee Ocleppo. And, for the record, Ocleppo is a Kelly — not Birkin — fan; she has three, one each in white, orange and red.
This story first appeared in the June 28, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.