A recent trip to the V&A inspired me to the write this post on Grace Kelly – described as “one of the most photographed women of the 20th century”. It was after returning from the visit and reflecting on what I had seen and how I had felt studying all the beautiful clothes before my eyes that I finally realised that being involved in fashion is what I want to do with my life. I was in my element in that exhibition – surrounded by beautifully cut dresses, original Hermès handbags and classic pieces of Givenchy and Dior. I still can’t believe that I was stood less than a metre away from the clothes that Grace Kelly – Style Icon, Hollywood film star and later Princess Grace of Monaco – wore to her many balls and events. Think of the stories and anecdotes those dresses could tell; if only clothes could talk!
For me, Grace Kelly was more than just a film star; she was a pioneer for women’s fashion – introducing new cuts and styles that could be emulated by other women. On marrying Prince Rainier and becoming ‘Princess Grace’, Kelly decided to take different approach to fashion – and became a flagship wearer of French Haute Couture such as Chanel, Givenchy and Christian Dior. Yes, her new role of Princess of Monaco did call for her outfits to become even more understated than they already were, but that didn’t mean that she fell from the podium of ‘World’s favourite icon’ – on the contrary, her marriage only made her seem even more of a real Princess – a charming wife and a caring Mother. It seemed that Princess Grace had achieved everything that all women of the 20th century could only dream about.
It is such a breath of fresh air to talk about an icon who actually deserves their iconic status. Non can deny that Grace Kelly was a talented screen actress – appearing in eleven films (many of them directed by Alfred Hitchcock) before her marriage. Even after she ended her film career she continued to work with many charities and non-profiting organisations; becoming founding president of the Association Mondiale des Amis L’Enfance – a charity helping children in need around the world. She also set up the ‘Princess Grace Foundation’ – an organisation still going strong today, who seek out young talent in theatre, dance and film by awarding scholarships and apprenticeships.
Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco continued her good work right up until her tragic death in a car accident on September 14th 1982. It is a testament to her work that the organisations she either set up or was a member of are still achieving their goals today.
Grace Kelly is an inspiration- an icon, not just of style, but of hard work too.