Grace Kelly: style icon at Bendigo Art Gallery
The exhibition Grace Kelly: Style Icon, on display in Bendigo, explores the former Princess of Monaco as a royal, movie star, bride and enduring icon through her fashion and personal tastes.
/ © Everett Collection / Rex Features, courtesy of Bendigo Art Gallery
Under the dim lights of the Bendigo Art Gallery, film excerpts and family photographs are woven in amongst Yves Saint Laurent, Dior and Givenchy gowns in a sartorial exploration of Grace Kelly’s multilayered identity.
“We really wanted to make her quite human, to give the audience a view of her not just as a Hollywood star or as royalty, but also as a mother, and a wife, and a very important part of the history of Monaco,” said Tansin Curtin, senior curator of the Bendigo Art Gallery. “The exhibition adds a bit more of a holistic approach to her and her style.”
Working with Andrew Cannon, Honorary Consul of Monaco, and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London where the exhibition was originally curated, Curtin assisted in organising over 100 pieces of clothing and jewellery into four aspects of Grace Kelly’s identity - as a princess, a bride, an actress and an enduring style icon - to depict her as more than a movie star who traded a burgeoning film career for love and the regal life.
Curtin also added three dresses to the original exhibition collection: a pastel green Maggy Rouff evening gown, an official copy of Kelly’s wedding dress designed by US designer Edith Head, and the gown worn at the centenary celebration of the kingdom of Monaco.
The pieces “showed the kind of fashion that [Grace Kelly] loved and her personal taste,” said Curtin. “She had a really lovely personality and that really comes through, particularly in the centenary ball gown [which] we selected for inclusion because it shows Princess Grace’s love of dressing up and fancy dress balls.”
“The gown… is both extravagant and whimsical and allows us to see how Grace Kelly grew into her role as Princess of Monaco.”
The exhibition was opened last week by Princess Charlene of Monaco, whose custom Swarovski-beaded blush dress by Sydney designer Johanna Johnson would have done her mother-in-law proud.