In Good Grace
Hair designer Kerry Warn transforms Nicole Kidman into a legendary princess in Grace of Monaco.
After a studio-director controversy, the much-anticipated film adaptation of one of America’s favorite real-life fairy tales comes true on the silver screen as it opens the Cannes Film Festival this month. Grace of Monaco (The Weinstein Company)—written by Arash Amel and directed by France’s Olivier Dahan—recounts the romance, glamorous career and controversial private life of Hollywood-starlet-turned-princess Grace Kelly. The all-star cast features Academy Award-winning actress Nicole Kidman, who plays the Princess of Monaco, as well as Tim Roth as Prince of Monaco Rainier III and Frank Langella as Father Francis Tucker.
Shot in locations from France to Italy, the film brings 1950s and ’60s fashion and culture to life. An on-target wardrobe of nipped waists, headscarves, capri pants and ball gowns, paired with a jewelry collection fit for a princess and Kidman’s on-screen energy, benefit from era-specific hairstyles. Kerry Warn, renowned for styling Kidman’s hair on the set of popular films such as The Hours (Paramount Pictures, 2002) and The Stepford Wives (2004), served as her personal stylist for Grace of Monaco. He looked to images of Kelly to capture the spirit of her personality and the 1960s rather than identical recreations of her hairstyles. He chose a natural Nordic blonde for Kidman’s color, and ensured it didn’t look artificial.
“For the basic hair down, the classic Grace Kelly look was achieved using a curling iron to make a soft wave near the eye,” Warn says. “For the chignons, I was inspired by Alexandre de Paris.” Kelly created her own hairpieces in the ’60s, Warn says, and was inspired by de Paris as well.
For Kidman, he prepped hairpieces on a block and minimally styled her hair, applying the pieces around the crown into an elegant shape. In some scenes, Warn added Cartier tiaras and styled hair to accommodate them; he did this by smoothing hair, using heated rollers for a short time to avoid excessive root lift, and brushing through with pomade to control static. Next, he lightly misted strands with hairspray, placed a hairpiece on the crown and slightly backcombed to give a base for the tiara. Finally, he took the length of the hair and brushed it around his fingers to create a swirl effect.
For the ball scene, Warn says he wanted the hair to take a very pure shape, a style within the period but with a sense of simplicity and elegance. Combining all of these elements made it the most challenging style, he notes.
To guarantee each overall look was united and accurate, Warn says it was all about collaboration. “I worked extremely close with the makeup artist; we’re creating a character and must be on the same wavelength,” Warn says. “The same applies to the costume designer.
“The key to any project is research and preparation,” Warn adds. “It’s important to have all the things you think you might need prepared. Like I say to my assistants, ‘We should have all of our soldiers lined up so we can tap into whatever we might need at any given time.’” ✂ —Kristen Heinzinger
Nicole Kidman as Hollywood starlet and Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly, dressed in jewels and wearing a Cartier tiara
photography: STONE ANGELS/DAVID KOSKAS