Sparkle Icon: “Little Edie” Beale

The heroine of Grey Gardens had an unexpected — and lasting — impact on eclectic style.

Photo courtesy of Marie Claire

Edith “Little Edie” Bouvier Beale, cousin of Jacqueline Onassis and star of the cult hit 1975 documentary “Grey Gardens“, remains as revered for her wildly imaginative personal style as she is for her famous family connections and eccentric lifestyle. A noted society beauty in her youth, Little Edie was immortalized in her late 50s, when she was living in a rundown East Hampton mansion with her mother, “Big Edie” Beale (and dozens of cats and raccoons). Onscreen, she emerges as a vibrant, charming character — fond of dancing, off-key singing, swimming, and delightfully idiosyncratic costumes — think bathing suits with turtlenecks and fur coats, dresses hung upside-down from her shoulders, and skirts turned into capes.

Thanks to a mysterious disorder that caused her to lose her hair, Little Edie’s signature style move — and one that’s been copied endlessly since — was the adorned head covering — shawls, scarves, and even sweaters wrapped around her head and pinned with a jewelled brooch. The effect is unexpected and creative, and left its imprint on eclectic style ever since (think early SATC Carrie Bradshaw, or Mary Kate Olsen).

To get your own Little Edie look, remember to mix, not match! Pair items from different seasons, clashing prints, and bust out evening jewelry for day (even at the beach). And don’t forget to consult “Grey Gardens” as a guide…it’s a must see for any fashion fan, and lots of fun to boot.

Anna Sui Faux Fur Coat, $635, Net-a-Porter

Judith Jack Magnolia Flower Pin, $450, Nordstrom


IsWas Abstract Print Scarf, $22.50, YesStyle

Esther Williams Bathing Beauty One-Piece in Posy, $89.99, ModCloth

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