The spectacular wardrobe of Grace Kelly, actress and princess, will go on show at London’s Victoria & Albert museum.The unique exhibition will provide a glimpse into the fairytale life of one of Hollywood’s most glamorous stars of the 1950s, who became Princess Grace of Monaco.
On display will be dresses from many of her most famous films, including High Society and ‘Rear Window’; the gown she wore to accept her ‘Best Actress’ Oscar in 1955, for ‘The Country Girl’; the outfit she wore for her first meeting with Prince Rainier of Monaco; and pieces from her opulent haute couture wardrobe of the 1960s and 1970s by her favourite Paris couturiers, including Christian Dior, Cristobal Balenciaga, Hubert de Givenchy and Yves Saint Laurent.
‘Grace Kelly: Style Icon’ will be arranged in three sections, tracing her evolution from MGM and Paramount silver screen star to real-life Princess. Three costumes designed by MGM’s Helen Rose, for Grace Kelly’s performance in ‘High Society’, in 1956, will be on show, including a Grecian-style bathing robe, and an embroidered evening gown, along with the black chiffon dress, designed by Paramount’s chief costume designer, Edith Head, for the Alfred Hitchcock classic, ‘Rear Window’.
A second section will focus on the dress Grace Kelly wore for the announcement of her engagement to Prince Rainier and the clothes designed for her trousseau and dazzling wedding, in 1956.
The final section will illustrate her growing sense of style as fashion and culture ambassadress of the principality, and will include many couture gowns created for official royal engagements, such as the purple YSL, worn in 1981, to a Royal Opera House gala in London, where Princess Grace met the then Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles.
The exhibition spans fashion across four decades, and includes eight dresses by Christian Dior, an extravagant, beaded Balenciaga jacket, Yves Saint Laurent’s ‘Mondrian’ dress of 1965, Coco Chanel suits jewellery by Van Cleef & Arpels, and, of course, the famous, original Hermès ‘Kelly’ bag.
Archive film and video footage, film posters, family photographs, film clips and magazines will complete this close-up study of a woman who became a global fashion icon.
Grace Kelly: Style Icon, sponsored by Van Cleef & Arpels, April 17th-26th September, Victoria & Albert Museum, London; admission £6; book in advance online, www.vam.ac.uk; or call 0844 209 1770.