Why Grace Kelly’s Wedding Dress Embodies a Made-for-Hollywood Fairy Tale

David Castro

On April 19, 1956—three months before High Culture, Grace Kelly’s final movie was produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer—Hollywood’s princess grew to become a actual a single, as she wed Prince Rainier III of Monaco in Saint Nicholas Cathedral.

Grace Kelly’s wedding dress created history as the grand ceremony was the 1st royal nuptials to be televised dwell to 30 million people today throughout Europe, courtesy of MGM. (In pre-satellite Television set/world-wide-web times, American followers anxiously waited for the physical film to be flown back again to the States.) An unprecedented 1,800 journalists descended on the European principality for what could also be regarded as, by contemporary-working day criteria, the very first broadcast celebrity wedding. Around 600 guests, like Hollywood A-listers, like Cary Grant, Gloria Swanson, Ava Gardner and tycoons, which include Aristotle Onassis and Conrad Hilton, watched as the silver screen and style icon took her vows in an ivory silk faille and 19th-century Brussels rose-point lace gown by MGM costume designer Helen Rose. 

With sublimely intricate aspects, like seed pearls accenting needle lace motifs and a pleated silk faille cummerbund atop the skirting, Grace Kelly’s wedding-costume type proceeds to be interpreted—even by royals and celebrities—over 6 a long time afterwards. “The reason Princess Grace’s marriage ceremony robe nevertheless resonates now with so quite a few brides has at least as much to do with who wore it, as the dress itself. The design and style is charming and timeless, but the way the costume sits at an intersection of Hollywood and royalty can make it notably evocative and extremely a lot an aspirational fantasy piece for several brides,” says Lorenzo Marquez, author, podcaster, and cofounder of style and culture web page, Tom + Lorenzo. “Kate Middleton was specially smart to evoke the dress without having copying it, underlining her possess position as a commoner marrying a prince, but also averting any comparisons to former brides in the British royal family members.” 

Grace Kelly (1929 – 1982) comes at Saint Nicholas Cathedral, for her wedding to Prince Rainier III, Monaco, 19th April 1956.By Joseph McKeown/ Getty Pictures. 

Reportedly, Grace Kelly and her wedding ceremony-costume designer, Rose, who beforehand collaborated on Higher Culture and two supplemental films, may perhaps have mined the MGM archives for inspiration. The swish V-entrance lace bodice of Dorothy McGuire’s gown in 1952’s Invitation, as properly as Elizabeth Taylor’s significant-collar neckline and long sleeves in 1950’s Father of the Bride—both by Rose—offer a sartorial throughline. (Rose also customized-intended Taylor’s gown for her 1st relationship to Conrad “Nicky” Hilton Jr. in 1950.)

“Rose was a longtime veteran of Hollywood. She was reliable by Grace Kelly, but also by Lena Horne and several other wonderful stars of the period of time,” explains Oscar-nominated costume designer Dr. Deborah Nadoolman Landis, distinguished professor and director of the David C. Copley Center for the Research of Costume Design and style at the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Tv. “The romance between a costume designer and an actress is a single of believe in and intimacy.”

Below top magic formula auspices of MGM, Rose made the dress with the studio office sources, which includes with 30 seamstresses. The two-time Oscar winner specially made the round veil, held in position with a common lace and pearl-embellished Juliet cap (in its place of an expected tiara), to brilliantly showcase Kelly’s illustrious visage for the black-and-white tv screen.

“Grace Kelly’s face was the jewel in a lace location. A large-neck, prolonged sleeves, lace cap, and extensive veil The only pores and skin demonstrating was her spectacular face and her fingers. That is a wonderful style and design, courtesy of a learn: Helen Rose,” claims Nadoolman Landis. (Rose also made Kelly’s elegantly chic pale pink taffeta and Alençon lace tea-length costume, also accented with a Juliet cap, for the civil ceremony a day previously.)

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