Grace Kelly at the V&A.

Actress Grace Kelly arriving at the 28th annua...

Image via Wikipedia

Fashion-mommy was lucky enough to see the Grace Kelly Style exhibition at the V&A last week. After depositing Baba safely with Grandad Mick, and taking a strangely leisurely train journey into the Capital, Fashion-Mommy and her three favourite girlies (My own fashion mommy, sister and BFF Dawn) all spent a wonderful hour or so admiring the wardrobe of a true fashionista, with an ageless style that has certainly transcended the decades.

The V&A was very busy, with all Grace Kelly tickets sold out for the day. I’d like to think this had less to do with the pouring rain and more to do with real fascination with the wonderful lady herself, but who really knows? Certainly the age range of people looking at the exhibits was broad, with women who probably remembered Grace Kelly the film actress from the first time, standing next to numerous art students and fashion students sketching and scribbling furiously in a range of battered notebooks.

The clothes were amazing, with each outfit accompanied by a photograph of Grace wearing it, and Pathe style newsreel footage running on the walls. The 1950’s  outfits were pretty and elegant, a beautiful pale blue/grey dress by James Galanos that  was worn by Grace for the official presentation of wedding gifts had Dawn exclaiming ‘That’s so me!’ The amazing original Hermes Kelly bag remains timeless, a real status symbol that has waiting lists that run into years. Whilst Grace’s Christian Dior blue draped evening dress which she wore during her maternity was totally beautiful, a lesson in elegant dressing.

stolen photo’s!

We tried to guess what size shoe she wore.

I feel that Grace, a real 1950’s icon, found more difficulty moving into the less structured/more freewheeling fashions of the 70’s. Some of the Marc Bohun led Christian Dior designs were more dated, although Dawn and my mom both feel in love with a heavily embroidered, silk chiffon design. These designs reminded my of every 1970’s bridesmaid dress I had ever seen, particularly the sunflower yellow and orange print maxi style dress, another Marc Bohun design.

My own personal favourite dress (shared with my sister Jodie) was the 1969 red and gold sequined number from Dior that was worn at the Diner des testes. It had the most amazing high headdress and would be as fashionable and stylish today as it was 40 years ago,

The other dress that made us all gasp was a beautiful Yves St Laurent shot silk taffeta evening gown in purple/plum. This was the dress that Grace had worn to Goldsmith Hall in 1981, just a year before her tragic death in a car accident. On this occasion Grace had met Lady Diana Spencer for the first time. Diana had also been making fashion headlines that night, in the rather revealing Emmanuel strapless black dress that had revealed a little bit too much of the future royal cleavage.  It left me strangely wistful thinking about the unhappy endings these two fairytale princesses had eventually been led to, but on that night, in 1981, they still seemed to have happy and long futures ahead of them.

The final section of the exhibition was given over to the costumes of Grace Kelly the actress. Before Monaco claimed her, she had been Hollywood’s golden girl, Hitchcock’s coolly elegant blonde with a fire in her belly. My mom almost cried when she saw Helen Rose’s designs for Tracy Lord in High Society. I loved the stunning black dress worn by the model Lisa in Hitchcock’s Rear Window, whilst the actual Academy award and the dress she wore to collect it, showed where Gwyneth Paltrow had found her early inspiration.

Tracy Lord dress from High Society.

Lisa dress from Rear Window. (Edith Head).

As we finished the exhibition, and purchased amazing Grace Kelly=esque pearls and silk gloves from the V&A shop, we were all momentarily lost in our own thoughts and admiration for the beautiful actress turned Princess who truly had effortless style.

Grace Kelly Moments

Screenshot of Grace Kelly from the trailer of ...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m really excited today. I’ve just booked my ticket to the Grace Kelly style exhibition at the V&A for the 23rd September.  I can’t wait to take a look at her fabulous outfits and to admire her timeless elegance and ageless style. Grace Kelly has always been an idol of mine, a real life beautiful Princess in the days before Diana, another lady who lived the fairytale that had an unhappy ending. Grace was always a real lady, in clean gloves and neat handbags, but with real sex appeal shining through.

Every women should have a Grace Kelly moment. A  few years ago I went to see a stage performance of High Society. At the end of the play, the Traci character wore the most stunning strapless, shimmering wedding gown with layers of tulle and shimmering Swarvrovski crystals. I was getting married later that year and I turned to my best friend and whispered “that’s the dress I want, that’s the one for me.” A few weeks later I went shopping for my dress and lo and behold the first dress I tried on was Traci’s dress. It fitted like a glove, I felt like a Princess and I had my Grace Kelly moment.

Grace Kelly is the perfect icon for this season. Prada, Louis Vuitton and Jason Wu have embraced the ladylike elegance of Grace, with full skirts, nipped in waists, ladylike handbags and bow front shoes. Hollywood stars are also embracing their inner grace.

Diana Agron in Carlina Herrera Resort

Glee’s Diana Agron in Carolina Herrera resort, Rachel Bilson in Louis Vuitton at the Met Ball, Camilla Belle at the Cartier Polo and Eva Mendes have all been channelling the spirit of Grace Kelly in their groomed appearance, feminine frocks and pretty styling.High street stores also have plenty of 50’s styles on offer. Mylene Klass has been pictured in Look magazine in the most fabulous 1950’s style red mac from M&S, whilst House of Fraser has a whole collection of fabulous Kurt Geiger shoes and phrase eight dresses in true ladylike style. Below are some examples of Grace Kelly styling from the high street.

GET THE LOOK

sundress from Pearl Lowe range at Peacocks

Great prom dress from m&co

Fab pink prom dress from Evans.

Don’t forget that Charity shops, car boot sales and vintage stores will be your best source for authentic accessories. Look in particular for inexpensive, ladylike beaded evening bags, thin evening gloves and fabulous paste brooches that can be pinned onto cute cardigans for a great daytime look. Structured Kelly style day handbags by labels like Jane Shilton and Joyland can also be picked up relatively cheaply. I found two over the bank holiday for a grand sum of just £4!

If the whole look isn’t for you, then just pick elements. A Wear has a great range of 50’s style vintage cardigans that would look great just worn with jeans or over a pretty evening dress.

Grace Kellyesque bags picked up from car boot sales.

ladylike gloves £1 from charity shops.