Sunday, April 28, 2013

Grace Kelly Style

Grace Kelly Style by H. Kristina Haugland.

For a volume devoted to the particular components of Grace Kelly’s look I highly recommend Grace Kelly Style, written by H. Kristina Haugland, the Le Vine Associate Curator of Costumes and Textiles at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with contributions from Jenny Lister, a Curator of Textiles and Fashion at the V&A in London, and Samantha Erin Safer.

The book is divided into the three most famous chapters of Grace’s life—the Actress, the Bride, and the Princess—and is further broken down into mini lessons about the particular designers whose clothes she wore—from Hollywood costumers Helen Rose and Edith Head, to Oleg Cassini, Marc Bohan for Dior, Givenchy, Balenciaga, and Maggy Rouff, among others. It holds up Grace’s biographical facts through a prism of style and shows how she used clothes to maximum glamorous effect.

This gem of a book is full of interesting facts about Grace I have never read about anywhere else. One of my favorites is that she had a bit of a shopping accident in Paris while at Hermès with the legendary Edith Head:

“Paramount sent Edith Head on location for the filming of To Catch a Thief; en route, the costume designer and Grace Kelly went shopping in Paris, where the actress indulged her weakness for buying gloves at Hermès to such an extent that she had to send for more money.”

Grace with Edith Head, 1955. © Rex Features

My other favorite is that Grace wore a dress made from a McCall Pattern the day she met Prince Rainier III of Monaco in May 1955, a meeting arranged by the magazine Paris Match:

“…the dress was not a designer creation but an ‘easy to sew’ dress from McCall Patterns made of 5 yards of 35-inch-wide material; the actress had worn it—with white gloves and a close-fitting asymmetrical floral headpiece—on the cover of McCall’s pattern book of spring 1955.”

An illustration of the McCall Pattern Grace’s dress was made from.

A page from the book showing the day Grace and Rainier met in 1955.  ©

This is the catalog that accompanied the exhibit Grace Kelly: Style Icon at the V&A in London in 2010. When I interviewed her for my article on Grace and her Hermès Kelly, Ms. Haugland was not sure if this book would be available for sale this summer at the McCord Museum in Montreal or this fall at the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, PA, when each hosts From Philadelphia to Monaco: Grace Kelly—Beyond the Icon, since the exhibit will be altered from its original version seen in London. I hope both museums do offer it for sale in their gift shops—it provides a unique look into all the aspects that went into Grace’s style over the course of her remarkable life.


Anonymous said...

I am loving these posts about Grace Kelly. So interesting!

On a side note...why have I never thought of using an Eiffel Tower as a ring holder. Duh!

gracefully50 said...

I adore Grace Kelly! It would be fascinating to read about her.

A Well Styled Life said...

It looks like a wonderful book! I love Grace Kelly's elegance and style.

Anonymous said...

I would love to read this book! Her style both on and off screen is just wonderful to me and still revelant.

Jill said...

Thank you ladies for the nice comments. As you can tell I loved this book! It will be released in paperback in October. And Heather, ha ha, you are cracking me up as usual. I have 3 Eiffel Towers (and I wish I had more, I just love them) and the top of my dresser is such a mess of jewelry and perfume bottles it seemed natural to use the tower as a ring stacker! XO, Jill

PinkCheetahVintage said...

She rocks that easy sew dress like a princess! Love the glove story :)