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Grace Kelly: From Movie Star to Princess

November 4, 2011 – January 22, 2012

HSBC Gallery

Exhibition produced by the Grimaldi Forum, based on a display at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Exhibition design by Barr Gilmore.

Grace Kelly (1929–82) is among the great defining figures of our age. Her meteoric rise to fame in Hollywood, her otherworldly beauty, her fairy-tale wedding and her vast impact on style and fashion as Princess of Monaco are normally the stuff of legend and myth. But Grace Kelly's life was among the most documented of all time: she may have been the most photographed woman of the twentieth century, and has left us with copious letters of great charm as well as home movies shot with her own hand. What emerges is a figure sure in her own self-creation, fully aware of her consecutive iconic roles as movie star, bride and Princess of Monaco. While perhaps unsure of how lasting her impact would be on public consciousness, Grace Kelly understood well the power of her own celebrity.

Kelly projected an unflappable elegance. That innate quality, demonstrated by rare images of her early home and professional life, was cultivated by the film industry, which positioned her as wholesome, but distinctly glamorous at the same time. She came to represent a classic, understated look that proved a draw for leading filmmakers of the day, including Alfred Hitchcock. This exhibition explores, through her surviving costumes, clothes, personal documents and Super-8 films, the story of her transformation from iconic Hollywood actress to a princess of one of Europe's oldest royal families, the Grimaldis of Monaco.

With thanks to the Princely Palace, Monaco, the Grimaldi Forum Monaco and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. 

'Grace Kelly: From Movie Star to Princess'
Installation view
Photo: Tom Arban, 2011