Coinciding with the 90th anniversary of the birth of Grace Kelly, who in 1956 became Princess Grace of Monaco, the Musée Christian Dior in Granville retraces the story of the friendship between the princess and the Paris haute couture House. “Grace of Monaco, Princess in Dior” showcases nearly 90 dresses worn by the former Hollywood star during both public appearances and on private occasions.
Behind every icon there is often a couturier. Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy enjoyed a well-known collaboration both on and off the silver screen. During the same period Grace Kelly – the favorite actress of Alfred Hitchcock who would become Princess of Monaco – developed a close, timeless relationship with Maison Dior.
The story of this long and loyal friendship began with a ball given for her engagement to Prince Rainier III in January 1956 in New York, where she wore a strapless dress designed specially for the occasion by Christian Dior himself. Throughout her life until her death in 1982, Grace of Monaco had close ties with both the Maison and its Creative Director at the time, Marc Bohan, who found in her the perfect embodiment of distinguished, modern elegance.
At the request of the designer, who became a friend and intimate of the family, in 1967 the Princess agreed to be patron of the Baby Dior label, inaugurating the first Children’s boutique on Avenue Montaigne in Paris. The story of these unique ties in the world of fashion is celebrated until November 17 in the exhibition in the Villa des Rhumbs, where Christian Dior grew up in Granville, a Normandy town dubbed “the Monaco of the North”.
For the exhibition, the Monaco Palace loaned nearly 90 dresses made by the Maison to the Musée Christian Dior in Granville. Formal evening gowns are joined by dresses in vaporous chiffon, with feather embellishments or floral prints and embroidery, along with shirt dresses and tweed suits that remind visitors of Princess Grace’s singular personality and style, at the same time classic and sophisticated. The dresses span her career as an actress and her arrival as a member of Monaco’s royal family.
Her image and status were an ideal match for the wardrobe created by Dior ateliers, which contributed to her prestige as first lady. In addition to the dresses, the exhibition “Grace of Monaco, Princess in Dior” presents portraits, photographs, media reports and film clips. There are also sketches and ideas for party settings by decorator and theater costume designer André Levasseur, an assistant to Christian Dior. They include the setting for her marriage to Prince Rainier on April 9, 1956.
A book entitled Grace of Monaco: Princess in Dior, published by Rizzoli, retraces the story of this unique friendship. The authors are exhibition curator Florence Müller and Frédéric Mitterrand, author of The Grace Kelly years: Princess of Monaco.