Once upon a time there was a beautiful young lady from a fine Philadelphia family, named Grace Kelly. She got her start, as many such young ladies do, in small parts on Broadway and fashion modelling.
Grace was so lovely and talented that Hollywood took note, and, soon she was acting in real movies, including Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 "Dial M for Murder", below (with Robert Cummings).
Costume designer Edith Head found herself a true fashion muse in Grace. The wardrobe for "Rear Window" is one of the most lauded. Below, the "Paris Dress". Dior's New Look done to a fine art in stunning black and white.
1954 was a landmark year for Grace. She won an Academy Award for her role in "The Country Girl", gowned in this gorgeous pale green satin by Edith Head.
"To Catch a Thief" was another lavish Alfred Hitchcock production, shot on location near the Principality of Monaco. In this photo, the "gold dress" Grace wore at the costume ball.
Now it just so happened, that Monaco had a bachelor Prince: Rainier III. Grace revisited the French Riviera for the 1955 Cannes Film Festival. And, at what had to be the most public "first date" in history, Grace and the Prince met and spent some time together.
The dress that Grace wore, a dramatic, dropped-waist print, was recently part of the Toronto Exhibit--Grace Kelly: From Movie Star to Princess at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.
And, a C de la C "exclusive": a close up of the photo inside the display case.
Prince Rainier and Grace were soon announcing their engagement. Grace wore a demure brocade shirtwaist dress. She was to become a real Princess!
The shirtwaist engagement dress below,
On April 4, 1956 Grace, her family and the bridal party departed for Europe aboard the SS Constitution in true fairy-tale style. The wedding was set for mid-April and the entire world was agog. Grace and family were followed by reporters everywhere. Check out the adorable but proper pillbox hat (the better to see the face with).
Grace and Rainier were married in a civil ceremony on April 18, 1956. Grace's two-piece lace ensemble was designed by Hollywood heavyweight Helen Rose, who was also to produce one of the most fabulous bridal gowns in history.
Sipping champagne after the civil ceremony.
The Helen Rose civil ceremony outfit as displayed at Toronto's Bell Lightbox.
Grace and the Bridesmaids on the terrace:
One of the Bridesmaid Dresses:
The bridal party assembled:
Grace, the beautiful bride:
The church wedding was broadcast live all over the world.
Once upon a time brides had something called "going away outfits". The new Princess had a grey Dior suit for the honeymoon aboard her husband's yacht.
The happy couple depart on their honeymoon.
Alas, the fairy tale has come to an end. The new Princess of Monaco would enchant us for decades to come as Her Serene Highness, Princess Grace of Monaco.