Millions of people around the globe are fascinated by Hollywood stars and also by royalty - so when the two combine forces, the world simply can’t get enough of them! This month’s style icon, Grace Kelly, is a woman who left the glitz of Hollywood for the glamour of the Monaco royal family.
She first came to public attention at the age of 22, when Gary Cooper got her the part of his young wife in the iconic movie High Noon. Her next project, Magambo, resulted in her first Oscar nomination, though she didn’t win the award.
Then she met Alfred Hitchcock who considered her the epitome of beauty, style and “sexual elegance”. In just two years, Kelly made three highly regarded films with Hitchcock - Rear Window, Dial M for Murder and To Catch a Thief. Then, in 1954, she played a grittier role as a dowdy wife of an alcoholic in The Country Girl, for which she did win an Oscar.
In 1955, her life took an unexpected turn when she was invited to join a photoshoot which also included Prince Rainier III of Monaco. The pair fell for each other and were married just a year later. No-one can resist the combination of Hollywood royalty and actual royalty and, even 60 years on, her glamorous wedding is still being talked about. Well, actually, she had two weddings - one civil and one religious. The civil ceremony took place in the Palace of Monaco and was attended by 3,000 Monaco people. The religious ceremony was broadcast worldwide to an estimated audience of 30 million - in 1956, not many people had a television.
As befits a style icon, Grace Kelly’s dress was indeed fit for a queen. A gift from MGM Studio, it was created by an Oscar-winning costume designer and took 36 seamstresses three weeks to make! The wedding was attended by royalty, heads of state and movie stars and caused a media frenzy. More reporters covered the wedding than had reported on World War II. At one point, things got so out of hand, the Prince had to call in the riot police.
Over the course of the week’s celebrations, Prince Ranier and his new bride attended a succession of stylish receptions, gala ballet performances, balls, fireworks and garden parties.
Grace Kelly had three children, one of whom, Albert, is the current Prince of Monaco. She was offered acting roles, notably the lead role in Hitchcock’s film Marnie, but rejected the role after a public outcry. She turned her attention instead to philanthropic work, founding the children’s charity AMADE Mondiale, as well as charities supporting local artisans and Artists.
She died in 1982 when she had a minor stroke whilst driving, resulting in her car plunging over a cliff and falling 45 feet. Her daughter Stephanie who was in the car at the time survived.
Throughout her life, she was regarded as a style icon and was never far from a photographer’s lens. Since her death, there have been a number of exhibitions of her wardrobe - including the famous wedding dress - around the world.
Whilst pregnant she carried a large Hermès handbag, principally to disguise her bump, but the bag became so popular as a fashion item, it became known as the Kelly Bag.
At Limes & Vines, we can’t help but think of those wedding garden parties she visited - would she have received her guests whilst sitting in an impressive Orion chair? Or maybe she’d have preferred the elegant simplicity of the EcoFurn?
If you’d like garden furniture and accessories which are fit for a Princess, have a look at our glamorous product range.