Grace Kelly took Hollywood by storm quite suddenly, then disappeared just as suddenly to become a princess—but she remained a style icon. As that style is celebrated in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, Vanity Fair charts Kelly’s rise from Philadelphia schoolgirl to Academy Award-winning movie star, and takes an extensive look at her enduring influence in the world of fashion.
Kelly, who grew up in a rich and powerful family similar to the Kennedys, always wore white gloves to auditions. One editor remembers her “sweater-and-tartan-skirt look” as “almost schoolgirlish.” As she spent more time in New York, recalls her best friend, her look became more “chic”; by 1955, the year she won her Oscar, she topped the Best-Dressed List. Today, that look continues to inspire designers from Tommy Hilfiger to the Mad Men costume designer: “The simplicity, it is so classic," she says, "but it’s always dramatic.”