Charlotte Triggs
October 08, 2007 12:00 PM

Grace Kelly was known as many things: the star of such film classics as High Society and Rear Window, a style muse for designers including Oleg Cassini and Hermès, and a real-life princess after her 1956 wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco. What fans may not know is that “Grace was a pack rat; she saved all sorts of stuff,” says her cousin John Lehman, chairman of the Princess Grace Foundation-USA. And so from Oct. 15 to 26, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Princess Grace’s death in a car crash at age 52, Sotheby’s is exhibiting some of the princess’s most cherished personal memorabilia, including a childhood scrapbook and home movies taken in the 1940s. The New York City auction house is also selling off two of her dresses to raise money for the foundation, which was established after her death to continue her patronage of the arts. Says Lehman: “We hope Grace can continue to be an inspiring example for people.”


“This is not the most spectacular dress that’s ever gone to the Oscars,” says fashion historian Bronwyn Cosgrave. “But it’s the most emulated dress. Hollywood’s A-list blondes are still copying this look more than 50 years later. It’s a classic.”


Kelly so loved this Helen Rose gown from 1956’s High Society, “it was given to her as part of her bridal trousseau,” says Cosgrave. “She wore it again on her honeymoon.”


As Princess of Monaco, Grace “wore French designers,” says Cosgrave, as with this Givenchy suit. “Great couture functioned for her like a uniform.”


The future star saved ticket stubs, scripts from her earliest plays (at just 12 years old) and an invitation to the field hockey team banquet. “She was a very good athlete,” says Lehman. And later, a killer foosball player. “She used to kick everybody’s butt.”



After years of “audition after audition and more rejection notices than she could keep in a box,” says Lehman, Kelly clicked with an important director: Alfred Hitchcock, who directed her in three films (Rear Window, Dial M for Murder and To Catch a Thief). Kelly was popular on the Rear Window set, making friends with costar James Stewart (left, horsing around with a Great Dane), with whom she stayed in touch even after she retired from acting. “They were very good friends,” says Lehman. “He used to be at the palace all the time. She loved witty conversation and good jokes.”

You May Like