This, my dears, is not my long overdue shirtdress for Idle Fancy's Autumn of 1000 shirtdresses. If nothing else, that tiny waist should have been a clue! It is in fact the engagement dress of actress Grace Kelly.
On one of the last days of our Christmas break my youngest daughter and I met at Paleis Het Loo, a Royal palace halfway between our respective homes, to visit the exhibiton 'Grace Kelly, princess and style icon.' The exhibition opened with stunning dresses from Kelly's 50's Hollywood period, most of them designed by costume designers Helen Rose and Edith Head.
A lace dress, designed by Oleg Cassini, made me wonder about the lace pattern placement. The, slightly off center, vertical use of scallops in the skirt puzzled me. Would you cut it like that? The same scallops were used exquisitely in the bodice, especially along the deep v-neck in the back. It was one of Grace Kelly's favourite dresses and seeing the fabulous fit of the bodice makes you understand why. That neckline is to die for.
Of course THE lace dress was the wedding dress Kelly wore in April 1956 when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco. It was designed by Helen Rose and gifted by the MGM studio.
The second part of the exposition showed the dresses from her Monaco years, during which she promoted French Haute Couture and wore designs by Lanvin, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Madame Grès and Chanel. Lots of iconic dresses and accessories, including of course the Kelly bag, were on display. No pictures, as by then security pointed out to me I apparently missed a 'no cameras' sign. Oops.
By the way, did you know that Grace Kelly was wearing a McCall's dress when she first met her future husband Prince Rainier of Monaco?
On the day of the scheduled photo session at the palace a power failure in her hotel prevented her from ironing her clothes. This silk taffeta McCall's dress was the only one to emerge uncreased from her suitcases. A sign at the exhibition said: 'It was extraordinary that Grace Kelly wore a dress made from a home sewing easy to make pattern on this important occasion.' She had even advertised the same dress as a model on the cover of a 1955 spring collection pattern book.
Extraordinary? To be honest, I preferred this dress over some of the designer pieces!
Which brings me back to home sewing. My Christmas dress, the McCall's 6696 meets Burda mix, is finally taking shape. I know. It's halfway January, but since I already missed that deadline I can take my time and finish it whenever I want. As a matter of fact the dress on top of this post vaguely reminded me of my own work in progress. Shirtdress, lapels, jacquard, even the turned sleeve bands......let's get on with it!