February 22, 2023

Made-for-Hollywood Fairy Tale

The wedding gown of famous brides—especially ones about to become a princessoften becomes the centerpiece of the fairy tale remembrance, even more than the wedding ceremony or the couple themselves. It's a memory and an image that we keep returning to...well past any whiff of a once "fairy-tale" romance!

Recently, Vanity Fair magazine returned to the iconic gown of Grace Kelly in Fawnia Soo Hoo's article, "Why Grace Kelly's Wedding Dress Embodies a Made-for-Hollywood Fairy Tale."

With sublimely intricate details, like seed pearls accenting needle lace motifs and a pleated silk faille cummerbund atop the skirting, Grace Kelly’s wedding-dress style continues to be interpreted—even by royals and celebrities—over six decades later. “The reason Princess Grace’s wedding gown still resonates today with so many brides has at least as much to do with who wore it, as the dress itself. The design is lovely and timeless, but the way the dress sits at an intersection of Hollywood and royalty makes it particularly evocative and very much an aspirational fantasy piece for many brides,” says Lorenzo Marquez, author, podcaster, and cofounder of fashion and culture website, Tom + Lorenzo.

 “Kate Middleton was particularly smart to evoke the dress without copying it, underlining her own status as a commoner marrying a prince, but also avoiding any comparisons to previous brides in the British royal family,” Marquez added. 

A lovely book by my costume-history colleague, Kristina Haugland of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Grace Kelly: Icon of Style to Royal Bride, shares the story behind the creation and sentiment of the gown and its accessories...which were all given to the museum by the new princess soon after her wedding. The gown was last on display in 2006.