The sensational story of Grace Kelly has fascinated generations; from Hollywood starlet to Oscar-winning actress to the Princess of Monaco. And her iconic status was enhanced by her innate style.
The result is the most wonderful collection of outfits worn by Grace Kelly on screen and in her real-life role as a princess.
Despite making 11 movies between 1951 and 1956, Grace Kelly’s film career was brief: she retired at the age of 26 to marry Prince Rainier. In that short time, she worked with the world’s leading men, from Cary Grant to Frank Sinatra, and starred in three Hitchcock movies, confirming her status as a Hollywood star.
Her outfits from this era portray the style of the 50s; flowing dresses and skirts, pastel palettes and American classics. She worked with famed costume designers, Edith Head and Helen Rose and their collaborations including costumes for High Society and Rear Window are featured in the exhibition along with Grace’s Oscar for Best Actress (for High Noon).
When Grace Kelly became the Princess of Monaco, her wardrobe moved to French couture, including Chanel, Balenciaga and Hermes to reflect the Princess’s new role. Indeed, the HermÃ¨s Kelly bag was named after Grace as she used it to hide her pregnancies from the press and the original Kelly bag is featured at the exhibition.
The most mesmerising element of the collection are the outfits worn at key moments in Grace Kelly’s life:
- the floral dress she wore when she first met Prince Rainier
- the navy coat she wore as she arrived in Monaco to begin her life as a princess
- the lace suit worn at the civil marriage ceremony
- her green two piece suit worn when she met JFK
Each is accompanied with a photo of the occasion. This is a truly enchanting collection and one not to be missed as the V&A celebrates a true style icon.
Grace Kelly: Style Icon until 26 September 2010. Book tickets