Grace Kelly's dresses go on show in London

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Apr 17 2010 01:50 PM | Updated as of Apr 17 2010 09:50 PM

LONDON – The spectacular wardrobe of Grace Kelly, the glamorous Hollywood film actress and princess of Monaco, goes on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on Saturday.

The collection of dresses and accessories includes items from her acting career, her fairytale marriage to Prince Rainier III of Monaco and her life as a princess, showcasing the style that made her a fashion icon.

"She's one of the few people who deserve this title of style icon. It's very hard to find anyone else today who can be remembered in the same way 50 years from now," said Jenny Lister, curator of the exhibition.

Lister said Kelly preserved her clothes very carefully, treating them "as old friends", so they could now tell her story, 28 years after her death.

Among the clothes on display are a pink chiffon evening gown with flowers embroidered down one side and a Grecian-style bathing robe, both of which Kelly wore in the film "High Society" in 1956.

They were designed by MGM designer Helen Rose and would normally have stayed with the studio, but as it was her last film, MGM made them a wedding gift.

The V&A also has the lace bodice and skirt Kelly wore for her civil marriage ceremony in 1956, and the off-white silk belted dress with gold threads that she wore after the official announcement of her engagement.

"She liked beautiful fabrics, she always accessorized it very carefully with plain white gloves and jewellery. She enjoyed jewellery but she used it just to add a little touch of detail," Lister said.

When she became a princess, Kelly stepped up the fashion stakes and began buying haute couture outfits by everyone from Christian Dior to Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent and Coco Chanel.

An emerald green wool dress by Givenchy that she wore to meet the other fashion icon of that age, Jackie Kennedy, at the White House is also among the 40 dresses on show here.

Jewellery by Van Cleef and Arpels and the handbag by Hermes that Kelly made famous -- and which later took her name -- complete the collection.

The exhibition runs from April 17 to September 26, 2010.