MONTREAL — From native Aboriginal attire to fancy hats — and finery fit for a princess — the McCord Museum takes a fashion step forward.
First up is “From Philadelphia to Monaco: Grace Kelly — Beyond the Icon,” a tribute to the actress-turned-real-life princess told through 100 artifacts, photographs and film clips.
Most prominent are some two dozen evening gowns and dresses that Kelly wore through her storied Hollywood career and then in her reign as the princess of Monaco.
The designers who the created the gowns are a who’s who of the costume-design and fashion industry, with Edith Head, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Givenchy among them.
Kelly, who was born in 1929, made 11 films in the 1950s, including three suspense dramas — “Dial M for Murder,” “Rear Window” and “To Catch a Thief” — for the master of the genre, director Alfred Hitchcock. Vintage movie posters of the era hang colorfully on display.
In spring 1955, Kelly jet-setted off to France to attend the Cannes Film Festival, which was where she first met Prince Rainier III of Monaco. The two kept in correspondence after Kelly returned home to the United States.
When Rainier ventured to New York in December of the same year, he proposed — and she accepted. The two were wed to much international fanfare with a match dubbed “The Wedding of the Century.”
Be it Kelly’s acting career or royal life, most fun are the video clip and dress match-ups that are displayed.
For example, one video shows Kelly accepting her 1955 Oscar for her role in “The Country Girl,” and just nearby is the dress she wore to the ceremony. And yes, that is indeed her Academy Award Oscar statuette she won on that fateful night.
Another clip shows Kelly at her wedding ceremony — make that ceremonies. Kelly was married to Prince Rainier in one civil and one religious ceremony on April 18 and 19, 1956, respectively.