“Love means never having to say you’re sorry," goes Jennifer Cavalleri’s iconic line from 1970’s classic romantic tragedy "Love Story." The only thing people loved more than the heart-wrenching film itself was its leading lady, Ali MacGraw, and her incredible style - and no one was saying sorry.
Before acting, she spent the fair part of the 1960s as legendary editor Diana Vreeland’s assistant at Harper’s Bazaar. Yet in the early and mid 1970s with hit films Goodbye, Columbus, The Getaway, Convoy, and the previously mentioned Love Story, no actress was more popular than MacGraw. Seriously. Of the top ten actors at the box office during that period, nine were men and the other was Ali. She redefined the idea of an on-screen heroine and what made MacGraw so appealing was not just her fresh, All-American style. She was bubbling, smart, brassy, and fierce too. Was she sexy? Yes, of course. But unlike the other female leads of the time, her sensuality was served with a hefty sense of self.
From her chocolate brown hair split and brushed down the middle, to the megawatt smile that revealed a crooked front tooth, to those deep coal eyes framed by thick untamed brows, and a slightly wide-set button nose, her 'flaws' only added to her unique beauty, making her look equal parts exotic and approachable. Through her style, she embodied a preppy Bohemianism - mixing whimsical paisley and floral prints, colourful crochet, knee high boots, bell sleeves with camel coats, turtlenecks, basic tees, and crisp trousers. This fusion of styles also matches her unique personality. A Wellesley graduate, Ali was raised amid the intellectual preppiness that is so inherently New England.
Though she retreated from acting to pursue activism, MacGraw’s style, especially that of her character in "Love Story," has continued to serve as a muse to many iconic American designers. Be it Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, or even newer brands like Daks - the sartorial impact is unmistakable. What is also unmistakable is the direct correlation between her radiant personality and iconic style. So along with admiring MacGraw’s outfits and beauty, take this important lesson: Iconic style begins and ends with what lives within your soul. Embrace your individuality, and let your light shine through.