Grace Kelly, T Women’s Fashion Spring 2010


For anyone raised on Madonna or Rihanna, it’s hard to fathom how a rich girl with a wardrobe full of shirtdresses, twin sets and pearls — and a firm disbeliever in women wearing trousers — could become the fashion idol of her generation. But Grace Kelly epitomized a time before rebellion was a virtue, and the forthcoming “Grace Kelly: Style Icon” exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London pays homage to the actress-turned-princess’s sartorial legacy, from her rise to stardom in the ’50s to her untimely death in 1982.“She certainly didn’t see herself as a style leader, liking such conservative clothes,” says the show¹s curator, Jenny Lister. “But audiences loved her kind of uncontrived, natural beauty.” Highlights of the show include Kelly’s namesake Hermès bag, dresses from her films “High Society” and “Rear Window,” and items from among the 80 pieces of luggage she carried to Monaco for her wedding to Prince Rainier in 1956. But perhaps more intriguing is what happened in the decades that followed, when Kelly found herself outside her comfort zone — amid all the tiaras and Dior ballgowns are the odd nods to rising hemlines and changing times, like her YSL Mondrian dress. In the end though, says Lister, “she was always happier in a Chanel suit.”

“Grace Kelly: Style Icon” opens April 17 at the Victoria and Albert Museum

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