STYLE STRENGTH: Class and francs
UNFAIR ADVANTAGE: Great genes
BEST UNDERPINNING: Bone structure
When Princess Caroline of Monaco went into mourning for her husband, Stefano Casiraghi, in 1990, fashion seemed to have lost one of its shining stars. Echoing the impeccable taste of her late mother, Grace Kelly, the princess had always seemed as if she stepped off the pages of Vogue. In mourning, a glum and drawn Caroline, dressed only in black, hacked off her hair and rarely appeared without sunglasses. But finally, in November 1992, site joined the royal family on the palace balcony wearing a midnight-blue suit and beamed a smile at the crowd below. "The black period is over, and it's nice to see her happy again," notes a veteran Caroline watcher.
Lately she has again been cruising the Paris boutiques of Chanel and Ralph Lauren, among others. She is clearly a woman rediscovering her zest for life—and all the shopping bags that entails. The romantic Monegasques credit the change to her beau, French actor Vincent Lindon, 34, a frequent visitor at Caroline's villa in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France, where, says a friend, "she is happiest, away from it all." Lindon is a playful companion to her three children by Casiraghi, Andrea, 9, Charlotte, 7, and Pierre, 6, and marriage rumors are heating up.
Now that duty again calls, Caroline, 36, has returned to the classics: Chanel suit, gloves and Hermès bag. "Her elegance is something she was born with," says friend and Chanel couturier Karl Lagerfeld. And the details are perfect: She always flashes just the right jewelry, shoes and handbags, "it's very important for a princess to make people dream," says Dominique Pinel of France's Point de Vue magazine. "And Caroline gives them something to dream about." The long-suffering princess' reemergence is welcome indeed.