The American girl with Irish roots was born in 1929 in Philadelphia, USA. Her family was succesful and her father, John B. Kelly, especially was one of the most accomplished American rowers in history. He made a fortune in the bricklaying and construction industry. Her father was not pleased with her actress dreams. Even so, Grace Kelly earned a degree from American Academy of Dramatic Arts working as a model to support her studies. She was 19 years old and determined to become an actress.
In 1950 she was noticed by a film director John Ford and she was casted for a role in the movie Mogambo playing across Ava Gardner and Clark Gable. Grace Kelly soon became a true Hollywood starlet and her effort earned her a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1956. She did TV plays and musicals, and worked with some of the most famous actresses of the time. In 1955 she won an Oscar for Best Actress over Judy Garland with the movie A County Girl. She was popular and coveted by most bachelors. The stardom really became her and she enjoyed life on screen very much, but not all the fuss of the media.
Grace Kelly also became the muse of the notorious director Alfred Hitchcock. She stared in his movie Dial M for Murder which lead her to participate in the Film Festival of Cannes where she first met her husband to be, Rainier III of Monaco.
The meeting was set up. The principality of Monaco was on the verge of bankruptcy and something had to be done to attract more glamour and make Monaco a glorious state again. Grace Kelly was the answer. The match seemed fairytale perfect and the 26-year-old actress married the 33-year-old Prince in April 1956. It was the wedding of the century with 600 guest in the Pink Palace Palais de Princes in Monaco, France. The entire world followed the Hollywood starlet turn Princess and trade her amazing Hollywood career with a new role as a wife and mother. She gave birth to 3 children: Caroline, Albert and Stephanie. Grace Kelly loved this life – although it broke her heart to give up her movie career. It was not appropriate for a Princess be available for compromising situations with other men in movies. But just the same, the marriage later suffered when Rainier turned out to be some of a womanizer. Grace moved to Paris to live for a while her children being away for school and all. Later, by their the couple seemed to find each other and their love for each other again. In 1981 they celebrated their silver wedding anniversary still playing the role of her life as Grace de Monaco.
Attending all kinds of day parties, movie star-roles and red carpet events Grace Kelly was loved by The Press. She was, and still is today, a hugeinspiration both with her exalted and graceful appearance, but also her classic and glamorous style transcends throughout ages. Grace Kelly is the embodiment of grace, a rolemodel of true lady behavior, classical beauty and fashionable elegance beyond comparison. I have gathered a collection of her dresses for you to view here.
During her career as an actress and life as a Princess Grace Kelly established a dear relationship with many of the most famous and legendary costumiers and designers of that time. Oleg Cassini was one of the popular costume designers – he and Grace Kelly were also lovers for a while. Oleg Cassini was her favorite dressmaker who also dressed Jackie Kennedy.
In the early days as an actress Moss Mabry was the one dressing her. Edith Head, one of the most fashionable costume designers of the time, designed the dress Grace Kelly wore when she won her Oscar for Best Actress. This dress became legendary and has gone down in history as a symbol of red carpet elegance. The dress was truly extraordinary, made in silk and in her favorite color: green, sea-green.
The wedding dress was provided by her studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and designed by Helen Rose. It took 36 seamstresses 6 weeks to make the historical wedding dress which later has inspired both Princess Mary of Denmark and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton. The dress had an ivory silk skirt supported by 3 petticoats and a corset with high, round neckline in Brussel rose lace and embroidered with cultured pearls. Very stylish and very Grace(ful).
Hermés later recognized Grace Kellys love for the classical box-square middle-sized handbag and named it Kelly. She adored the bag and brought it with her wherever she went. It also made perfect coverage for hiding her baby bump to hide from the nosy press. Later she became infatuated with the Dior designer Marc Bohan – especially the New Look piece suits and hats. The round framed sunglasses, flat Gucci moccasins, white gloves, pearl earrings, stylish scarves and chic dresses made her style iconic. Grace Kelly is style par excellence and her characteristic blend of classic chic and fresh charm gave her the nickname: Ice Princess. She is described to have both fire and ice charm that captured the hearts of lovers and fans.
If you want to learn more about the life of Grace Kelly I can recommend the biography: Grace de Monaco – La place et le feu by Elizabeth Gouslan, Published by Grasset.