Grace Kelly's Love of Dior Was Based on a Profound Friendship
The legacy of Grace of Monaco—the Hollywood star who became a princess when she married Prince Rainier in 1956—has been thoroughly explored. It isn't difficult to watch her entire filmography (and you should!) or to read about Monaco's royal family over the years. Yet a new book, Grace of Monaco: Princess in Dior, closely examines the fashion born out of her longstanding collaboration with the designer Marc Bohan, who enjoyed a 30-year career at Christian Dior.
"The idea came a few years ago when Prince Albert of Monaco was traveling to Normandy for the inauguration of an exhibition telling the story of his family," says Florence Müller, one of the book's authors. "When Prince Albert saw the exhibition, he said to the museum director that he had kept the wardrobe of his mother, which included clothing, accessories, and souvenirs. He said he’d be happy to work with us and give loans for an exhibition."
The museum jumped at the chance, and that exhibition, which runs through November at the Musée Christian Dior in Granville, France, inspired this book—which features writing by Prince Albert of Monaco and Bernard Arnault, among others.
"I went to Monaco and discovered that about one third of her wardrobe was designed by Christian Dior. I also discovered that the reason why Dior was so prominent in her wardrobe was because the house was very prestigious, but also because she was very close friends with Marc Bohan," Müller says. "He was a couturier for her whole family. It was more than the story of clothing, but the story of a friendship between Princess Grace and Bohan. They had the same idea of elegance; she found in Bohan someone who could share her vision."
Here, she shares the stories behind some of Princess Grace's greatest Dior looks.
“This is the opening ceremony of a Baby Dior boutique on November 7, 1967. This is an important moment because you can see the friendly relationship between Princess Grace and Marc Bohan. It’s the opening day of the store he was opening for little kids, and he asked her to be the godmother of this event because she herself was a young mother. She was the perfect example of a modern mother, and she did this as his friend. The boutique is still there today, exactly where this photo was taken.”
Grace of Monaco at the Royal Variety Charity Show at Royal Festival Hall in London, November 16, 1970.
"Here she is with Sophia Loren, and Carlo Ponti on March 16, 1969, at a costume ball in Monaco. In the exhibition, we’re showing the dress she’s wearing here but we don’t have the headdress—it was not kept; it was made only for the party. Most of the time Princess Grace was dressed in a very elegant manner, she wasn’t very extravagant, but sometimes she was attracted to things that were a little bit more over the top. She understood the importance of being seen in the middle of a crowd. She did that with Monaco; it was always elegant, but she made it glamorous.”
Grace Kelly with Alfred Hitchcock and James Stewart at the premiere of Rear Window in 1954. She is wearing the Caracas dress, Christian Dior (from the New York collection, Spring/Summer 1954).
“This is Princess Grace at a gala dinner in Monaco in 1968. This dress is the finale of the exhibition; it’s shown in a vitrine alone. In that room is a space where you can sit and watch a film that shows Princess Grace wearing this dress. It’s a very colorful dress and she wore it several times; she loved it. It’s emblematic of her understanding of fashion and trends. This dress is in the spirit of 'hippie chic' that was happening at the end of the 1960s. She was interpreting that movement is a very luxurious way.”
Grace of Monaco: Princess in Dior
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Sketches by Christian Dior for the Monte-Carlo dress, Spring/Summer 1956 Haute Couture collection, Flèche line.
*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors