Fashion on the French Riviera

RIDING ON THE GOLDEN WAVES OF LIFESTLYE

As the megayachts of Monaco prepare to woo the cream of society, it's not just the pearl finishes that will be polished to perfection

The Who's Who of the yachting world will be dazzling Port Hercules with their designer trends in an effort to match the elegance of bygone eras. In an ode to timeless celebrity fashion icons, many of the elite guests will be dressed in head to toe glamour inspired by Hollywood's goddesses of the past.

Screen legend Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, may have once ruled the high seas of fashion and the memory of her classical looks represents an eternal style inspiration for women all over the world. But she wasn't the only icon of the golden age to cruise in couture along the French Riviera.

Long before the Monaco Yacht Show, Elizabeth Taylor was already causing a stir on the high seas with her love of luxury boats as well as her opulent taste in exquisite finery. In 1967 Richard Burton presented her with an Edwardian motor yacht named Kalizma' and the following year he surprised Elizabeth with a 33.19-carat ring named the Krupp Diamond whilst on board.

Famed for her high-octane taste in jewels, Elizabeth epitomised elegance with the help of feminine tailoring, favouring full skirts and nipped in waists with daring halter necks and lashings of red lipstick. Even on board, Elizabeth was never seen without her decorous diamonds which she teamed with classic, curve-enhancing bathing suits. Exuding sophistication and a royal attitude, which saw her dazzle through the decades, Elizabeth Taylor's legendary style still proves an inspiration to many.

"I want a yacht and really that's not a lot,в" sang Marilyn Monroe, arguably the most seductive of all celebrity fashion icons. Like Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn stole hearts with her boldly coloured, fitted dresses and low cut necklines, but it was her fondness for jewels that made diamonds her best friend. A true Hollywood diva, Marilyn was often a guest on the most luxurious yachts of the golden era and was pictured numerous times in her signature one-piece strapless white bathing suit.

A lover of accessories, Marilyn would add a wide brimmed beach hat or delicate kerchief to her outfit, finishing off the look with large black sunglasses still favoured by many women today. In contrast to the flirtatious hourglass figures of Elizabeth and Marilyn, fashionista's all over the world continue to model their look on the eternally beautiful, poetically petite Audrey Hepburn. With a style defined by grace and simplicity, Audrey preferred basic staples that oozed culture and class and was often photographed in elegant tailored pieces with a simple colour palette.

Hair up in a kerchief and shades on under impeccably-maintained bangs, images of Audrey playfully posing on a yacht are as ravishing as they are sweet. Teaming high waisted shorts with an effortlessly elegant shirt, Audrey could pull off a dainty tomboyish look whilst still exuding girly glamour, without the need for a revealing bathing suit. Considered the epitome of sophistication, Audrey Hepburn continues to be one of the world's most heralded style icons and a sure style-inspiration for those reclining on the Riviera.

Being married to one of the greatest shipping magnates carries heavy responsibilities and no other woman could have carried them off as glamorously as Jackie O. Her wedding to Aristotle Onassis was held onboard the stately superyacht Christina O', which played host to the creme del la creme of 1950s high society including Marilyn Monroe and was also the palatial setting for the wedding reception of Monaco's very own Prince Rainer and Grace Kelly. Yet long before Jackie became Mrs O, she was enthralling the public with her simple approach to clothing and beauty as the First Lady. Popularising the pillbox hat and sleek shifts, Jackie often stepped out in attention-grabbing hue but also understood the power of the monochromatic look. In later years her style evolved to incorporate neck scarves and wide-legged trousers but she continued to make her mark with crisp silhouettes in little black dresses and white elbow gloves. Away from the political scene, Jackie favoured tasteful bathing suits in graphic prints and oversized dark sunglasses. A leading style icon in both The White House and on the high seas, Jackie O's fashion favourites endure to this day.

Sailing the high seas with grace and poise, the sirens of the golden age continue to entice the modern world of fashion with their timeless style. Whether simplistic and sensual, or sophisticated and sassy, the icons of the past have left a legacy of glamorous garbs to inspire and influence the couture courters of today.

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