The Girl in the Red Coat

Grace Kelly – Style Icon

Posted on: July 3, 2010

I think it is important to see the person first and the clothes afterwards – Grace Kelly

This seems like an odd sentiment to come from someone who is remembered above all as such an icon of style, but having seen some of the most gorgeous and well-known items from her wardrobe today I can truly echo this statement.

The Victoria and Albert Museum are currently hosting this exhibition, featuring dresses from around the time of Grace Kelly’s Hollywood career, through to her meeting and moving out to Monaco to marry Prince Rainier and also some of the haute couture gowns of her later years. Plus! Some of her hats, shoes, glasses (I didn’t realise she wore glasses but she had some gorgeous pairs!) and jewellery. Oh to be able to play dress-up in some of those gowns…although I don’t know how feasible it would be – I think I’d have to lose about half my waist. The glasses though, no problems there! (.^_^)v

As soon I went into the exhibition and saw some of the dresses she wore in the 50s, I think my jaw dropped and I literally gasped. As much as I love Victorian and Edwardian-style dresses, I think the 50s are truly my fashion era. The nipped in waists, the full skirts, the patterns and ribbons…my heart skips a beat whenever I spot something similar in a shop nowadays! So as gorgeous as some of the later dresses in Grace Kelly’s collection were, it was the early collection that I loved the most, but what really surprised me about most of the exhibition was how simple the gowns were, with nothing overly fancy. (Apparently she saved that for her elaborate hairstyles at events later in her life – she had to ride to one ball sitting on the floor of a van because her headpiece was too tall for a car.) So yes, she truly embodied the notion that you should wear your clothes and not the other way round.

There were also a few of the costumes, along with clips, from some of her movies – High Society and Rear Window among others. I love Bing Crosby so definitely want to watch High Society at some point in the future and have already seen Rear Window but may have to dig out the DVD for a re-watching…ooh I think this is calling out for a Grace Kelly evening! The dress on the right was in the exhibition and I remember thinking it was stunning when watching the movie. Apparently, this dress was worn to signify the fact that the relationship between James Stewart’s character and Grace Kelly’s was cemented at this stage and so she could simply wear an ordinary understated dress as opposed to the more enticing dresses she was wearing before. Oh, if only this was still an understated, easily accessible, day-to-day style of dress!

I really recommend this exhibition but do book in advance – the V & A are running timed entries so it doesn’t get too crowded and you may not be able to get tickets on the day. The pictures (among others!) and more information about the exhibition can be found by following the link here.

1 Response to "Grace Kelly – Style Icon"

I’m enchanted with fashion from the 1950s, too, and Grace Kelly was definitely stunning! How fun that you got to see the exhibition. Another reason for me to visit London again. 🙂

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