Grey Gardens

USA 1975. Dir Albert Maysles.

Maysles brothers’ film is a generous, rambling portrayal of a mother-daughter relationship of the former socialites and beauties ‘Big Edie’ and Little Edie’ Bouvier Beale, Jackie Kennedy’s aunt and cousin. The two women are shown talking, squabbling, singing and reminiscing over old photographs while performing daily routines in their vast, semi-derelict East Hampton estate Grey Gardens. It is hardly surprising that Maysles’ film has become something of a must-see in fashion circles. Little Edie steals the show with her highly individual, eccentric, unwittingly ‘vintage’ style: ‘I didn’t have time, taking care of mother, to get out and buy clothes. So I used what was left of mine and mothers in the attic.’ While there is a tendency to focus on the women’s glamorous past, Little Edie’s sheer joy of wearing clothes helps anchor the film within the present, lending it a satisfying visual richness. Her frequent and ever-surprising costume changes create its unique sense of rhythm and flow.