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The history of the thing: how Grace Kelly’s first wedding dress was ahead of the trends

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Grace Kelly

The wedding of Hollywood actress Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III of Monaco, held on April 19, 1956, became one of the most striking social events of the 20th century. 30 million viewers watched the broadcast of the solemn ceremony! And all eyes, of course, were on Kelly’s luxurious wedding dress, created especially for her by MGM costume designer Helen Rose, who has worked with the actress on several films. A dress with a lace bodice and a bell-shaped skirt hand-embroidered with pearls has become a real classic of wedding fashion, and many famous brides tried to recreate the cult image – for example, dresses of similar styles were chosen by Kate Middleton and Miranda Kerr. However, Grace Kelly’s second wedding dress, which she wore the day before, to a civil ceremony remained in the shadow of this legendary outfit.

The history of the thing: how Grace Kelly's first wedding dress was ahead of the trends

Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III

The day before the main celebration at St. Nicholas Cathedral, on April 18, 1956, Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III registered their marriage in a more modest ceremony held in the throne room of the royal palace.

The history of the thing: how Grace Kelly's first wedding dress was ahead of the trends

It was held by Marcel Potagnier, Minister of Justice of Monaco, at that moment only eighty guests were present in the hall (among them, however, there were representatives of 24 countries!). For comparison, the wedding was attended by about 600 guests.

Of course, Kelly could not show her main wedding dress ahead of time, so a separate suit was created for the civil ceremony – and it was not traditionally white.

The history of the thing: how Grace Kelly's first wedding dress was ahead of the trends

A pearly pink outfit, consisting of a fitted button-down jacket and midi skirt, was also designed by Helen Rose for this event.

The costume was made of taffeta and completely covered with cream-colored French Alençon lace (the thinnest and one of the most difficult to make, this lace is even included in the UNESCO World Heritage List!). The fabric was also covered with additional silk thread embroidery to create a brocade effect.

The history of the thing: how Grace Kelly's first wedding dress was ahead of the trendsThe history of the thing: how Grace Kelly's first wedding dress was ahead of the trends

Sketch of Grace Kelly’s first wedding dress

With a rounded collar and an A-line skirt, the suit embodies the elegance of 50s fashion.

The history of the thing: how Grace Kelly's first wedding dress was ahead of the trends

The image was complemented by smooth short matching gloves and a “juliet" hat (the so-called thin or openwork headdress, often decorated with pearls, beads or precious stones, which is mainly worn with evening dresses or wedding dresses). Kelly’s hat was decorated with appliqués in the form of flower petals.

The history of the thing: how Grace Kelly's first wedding dress was ahead of the trendsThe history of the thing: how Grace Kelly's first wedding dress was ahead of the trends

I must say that she preferred the same style of headdress at the main ceremony, abandoning the traditional tiara in this case. Instead, the veil was stuck to a "juliet" of lace embellished with pearls and orange blossom.

The history of the thing: how Grace Kelly's first wedding dress was ahead of the trends

It is worth noting that with her first wedding dress, the actress not only set, but in many ways was ahead of wedding trends – today two-piece suits instead of dresses, and dresses in delicate pastel shades instead of traditional white are relevant today.

The history of the thing: how Grace Kelly's first wedding dress was ahead of the trends

But then, few people remembered the outfit properly, since Kelly never appeared in public in it. At the press conference that followed the registration of the marriage, during which Grace and Rainier accepted congratulations, the actress appeared in a different outfit – a dress with a bow and a pleated skirt, which Kelly added with elongated gloves and a miniature reticule on a chain.

The history of the thing: how Grace Kelly's first wedding dress was ahead of the trendsThe history of the thing: how Grace Kelly's first wedding dress was ahead of the trends

However, the princess did not stay in it for long: already in the evening at a reception at the opera house, organized in honor of the newlyweds, she appeared in a silk dress from Lanvin, and her head was adorned with a tiara of rubies and diamonds – a gift from Prince Rainier.

The history of the thing: how Grace Kelly's first wedding dress was ahead of the trends

By the way, this is another trend that Grace Kelly has consolidated – today, during wedding celebrations, brides sometimes change outfits several times, including at royal weddings.

The history of the thing: how Grace Kelly's first wedding dress was ahead of the trends

But all these dresses faded in comparison with the main wedding dress, in which the princess appeared in public the next day. It is not surprising that no one remembered other images: Grace entered the history in a snow-white dress, the manufacture of which took more than 90 meters of silk and almost 23 meters of taffeta.

The history of the thing: how Grace Kelly's first wedding dress was ahead of the trends

Its value would have been 50 thousand pounds in modern money, and then the outfit became Kelly’s wedding gift from the MGM studio. According to some reports, 30 craftswomen worked on it, and it took six weeks to make the outfit!

The history of the thing: how Grace Kelly's first wedding dress was ahead of the trends

Helen Rose at work

The history of the thing: how Grace Kelly's first wedding dress was ahead of the trends

Design for Grace Kelly’s second wedding dress

Grace herself probably remembered it better than others, because even instructions were attached to the dress so as not to get confused in what order it is worth putting on all parts of a multi-layered outfit.

The history of the thing: how Grace Kelly's first wedding dress was ahead of the trends

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