Grace Kelly is a style icon everyone can appreciate. She was a starlet in fanciful MGM pictures in her early life, and a princess at the end, which encompasses most little girls’ dreams. Some of her most famous costumes and ensembles will be put on display for the public later this year. The exhibition, aptly named “Grace Kelly: Style Icon” will be presented at the Victoria & Albert Museum this spring. The show, arranged in three sections, will show the evolution of her style from actress and movie star to princess, as well as pieces and garments made especially for and inspired by her.
Born in 1929 to an affluent family in Philadelphia, Kelly’s interest in fashion was developed at a young age. Her mother, a teacher, had a love of fashion and clothes, and was known for her collection of hats, short white cotton gloves, and other classically feminine accessories. Despite her reputation as one of the film industry’s most glamorous stars, Kelly was one of the first to champion a clean, minimal, effortless wardrobe. She dressed to be taken seriously, and didn’t want to be a part of the typical showy starlet caste that befit other actresses in her time.
The first to wear what is commonly known now as sportswear, her wardrobe consisted of simple white shirts, understated gowns, Capri pants, flat loafers, and safari-hued basics. Called “too wholesome to be mysterious” by Vogue Magazine, she repeatedly refused to be typecast as a bombshell. Her aesthetic was her trademark, and it was only a matter of time before the fashion world took notice of her. Kelly was the first influencer to adopt large handbags. While pregnant, she shielded her bump with a large Hermes saddle bag, the bag now known as the Kelly.
In 1956, she became engaged to Prince Rainier of Monaco, a move that ended her career as an actress. Her wedding gown is one of the most cherished and well-known gowns in fashion history. Made for her by legendary costumer Helen Rose of MGM, the dress was made of 300 yards of lace, 25 yards of taffeta, 100 yards of silk net,and 23 yards of silk taffeta – all that plus a three foot train and a tulle veil. While her classic style and minimalist tendencies never garnered her as much attention as her celebrated wedding dress, Grace Kelly has remained one of the foremost fashion icons and influences for decades, inspiring designers, artists, and tastemakers alike.
Images courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.