Ali MacGraw in ‘Love Story’


Who wouldn’t want to channel Ali MacGraw?

The Wellesley College grad, onetime assistant to Diana Vreeland (yes, really), and iconic American beauty stole our hearts with her her turn as Jenny Cavilleri in romantic tearjerker Love Story (replete with no-makeup makeup, an archly upturned chin, pithy wit, and a death scene so attractive Roger Ebert eventually created a term for it: ‘Ali MacGraw's disease,' wherein the afflicted become increasingly beautiful as death approaches). MacGraw, who, above all else, seemed intelligent and charming, became a de facto pin-up girl of the '70s and the thinking man's sex symbol for decades to follow. Plus? She had great clothes, and for a while, she had Steve McQueen. So, let’s travel back in time, shall we? When life was short (way too short for Jenny Cavilleri, but "love means never having to say you’re sorry," OK?) and sweet and full of lots of hammy repartee and rolling around in the snow in Harvard Yard. (Angst-ridden, moppily-haired boyfriend in a great shearling coat, optional.)

There’s been a marked increase in the whole barefaced-because-you’re-born-with-it/have-better-things-to-do look (see: the spring campaigns for Proenza Schouler and Céline; the runways of Rag & Bone, Proenza, and so on, so forth), though some at ITG HQ would argue it’s never gone out of style. Regardless, MacGraw nails it in Love Story, so let's channel our inner 'Radcliffe wise-ass' as we attempt to update her pretty, natural, uncomplicated '70s beauty for 2013.

For swingy, shiny, healthy, and straight-straight-straight hair to swing around while you blithely insult your current beau/future husband: We still love Phylia Shampoo, Conditioner and Connect Spray for healthy, shiny, thick hair. Top it off with a squeeze of Living Proof Full Thickening Mousse, which is just the thing for amping up hair that might otherwise go flat. If you’re not naturally straight-of-hair, run a GHD Ceramic Styling Iron (1 inch) through those locks of yours. Rock a center part and consider knit hats and scarves—Ali loves knit hats and scarves. (The slightly bell-shaped maroon hat featured prominently in Love Story was MacGraw's own, actually; director Arthur Hiller chose to use it in the film.)

For a perfect, glowing, slightly tanned complexion: MacGraw has a pretty mild glow going the whole time (Cambridge, MA in December, be damned). We think you could effectively (and safely!) get the same warmth via By Terry Serum Terrybly Sunbooster, which imparts a serious sun-kissed effect while deploying anti-aging photoprotectors (nifty!). For everyday, Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm gives just a hint of tint while packing broad-spectrum SPF 20. Also, rub in a lip and cheek tint (we're enjoying Stila Convertible Color in Lillium, or make like Diane Kendal backstage and blend a swipe of a favorite lip color into your cheek) for a healthy 'just had a brisk walk from Music 201' flush.

For strong and serious, often-raised (in sarcastic amusement) eyebrows: Look no further than Anastasia, the eyebrow wizard, and her Bold and the Beautiful Brow Kit. It's fashioned after a set of gilded books and comes with two palettes, including brow powder, pomade, a mini duo brush, and miniature tweezers to sculpt, define, and layer color for strong, perfectly MacGraw-esque brows.

For doe eyes (usually hidden behind granny glasses): Blend some dark brown liner. We love Lancôme Waterproof Le Stylo in Coffee, drawn along the upper and lower lashline, carefully dotting it between the lower lashes (you can use the smudger end to delicately blend). Curl your upper lashes with an old favorite, the Shiseido Eyelash Curler, and rake some of Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes—same beloved formula, new conifer-shaped brush—on through. And voilà! Look at you, dream girl. (Only, we're pretty sure you're headed for a happier ending.)

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • TheStylishBakery

    i love her stile in that movie!! classy but simple :) and i love the products you chose!!

  • Guest

    Love! I sent a suggestion over to you about this film - it's kismet! I'm very happy. Love Story is one of those movies where I don't pay attention to the "story" but study Ali. For me, she is the ultimate ultimate. From the belted camel coat to her white jeans and navy Camp Tuckahoe t-shirt. The hair, the hats, the natural makeup. She is perfection. Thank you thank you. Thank you! - J

    • Janine

      I forgot to mention (this is my comment above) that the movie was filmed in MA, where I live near Crane Beach and in Cambridge. Another reason to love it.

  • P

    God, I hope this becomes a regular feature! I loved it

  • Pixel_Queen

    Beautiful! And her style has stood the test of time. I saw her on TV a year or so ago and she's still lovely.

    PS: Completely OT, but I would like to challenge you to celebrate Black History Month on your blog. How about featuring women of color this month? You're in New York and, apparently, you have access to everyone. So come on! How hard can it be? Fingers crossed...

    • Dru

      I second the challenge! It would be great to see that ITG this month, I've loved all the features you've done with ladies of colour so far and it would be lovely to see more!

  • Jessica

    Favorite movie ever!

  • SylviaETC

    Thanks for sharing!
    Always loooved Ali McGraw's look!!!

  • mlle p

    Love this movie, though corny, that I have seen so many times. One great thing you rarely see anymore is that she had real, slightly crooked teeth in the movie! It was so nice to see that after all the overwhitened chiclets that are par for the course now in Hollywood.

    • Lera

      This is exactly what I thought! Her slight teeth unevenness gives her more personality.

      • ITGAlessandra

        Interestingly enough, this is also true of Kate Moss! x

  • Liza

    I love this look so much! Like you said, it's classic all-American beauty.

  • JenniferMonforton

    Classic beauty. Love how you've listed some product to re-create her iconic look :)


  • Conjax

    Just found this amazing blog; love this piece, but the wonderful Mr. Ebert's first name is Roger, not Robert. We lost a great wit when we lost him in April.

    • ITGLacey

      Thanks so much for (kindly) pointing out the misspelling, & thanks for reading!


Shiseido Eyelash Curler
Great Lash Lots Of Lashes Mascara
Michael Kors
Michael Kors Striped Cashmere Scarf
Neiman Marcus
Cashmere Cable-Knit Hat
Lancôme LE STYLO WATERPROOF – Long Lasting Eyeliner Cafe
Urban Decay
Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm Broad Spectrum SPF 20
BY TERRY Serum Terrybly Sunbooster
ghd Gold Professional 1 Inch Styler 1
Living Proof
Living Proof Full Thickening Mousse
AHAlife Holdings Inc.
Phylia De M Hair Care Combination Set
Anastasia Beverly Hills
Anastasia Beverly Hills Bold & Beautiful Kit

Dearest ITG Reader,

We're working on something new called Glossier. It's launching soon(!) and we want you to be the first to know updates.

xo, Emily