TIFF exhibit: Hail Kelly, full of Grace

Grace Kelly’s wardrobe - TIFF

TIFF presents “Grace Kelly: From Movie Star to Princess”

Brittany Sammy

Grace Kelly’s wardrobe - TIFF


As I walked past the TIFF Lightbox in Toronto, I was unquestionably sure I was in the right place. The walls were lined with pictures of Grace Kelly and the fashion wear that surrounded me was fit for a princess.

Running from November 4 to January 22, The Grace Kelly exhibit was the highlight of the month as many came to see how the Princess of Monaco grew to be a fashion icon and Hollywood star.

The actress, who hit the height of her fame from 1951 to 1956 while completing a total of 11 films in that period, became one of the most popular icons of the time. She won the 1954 Best Actress Academy Award for her role in The Country Girl and would go on to be recognized for other films.

The actress who is known for marrying Prince Rainier III of Monaco and being featured in numerous Hitchcock cinematic treasures was the reason why many film lovers and fashion lovers came to the exhibit.

As you enter the Lightbox you’re surrounded by Grace Kelly memorabilia, from her movie posters to her hand-written letters. Throughout the exhibit, there are cases full of articles, film stills, photographs of Kelly, and her bare essentials which range from lace gloves to oval sunglasses. Family video footage wrapped around the walls of the exhibit, and the clips were great to watch during pit stops.

A favourite exhibit of mine held the most divine wedding dresses that I’ve ever seen in person. Kelly married Rainier III in nothing less than the most beautifully crisp, lacy dress; it was something out of a fairy tale. The exhibit featured the dress for all to see. From the lace sleeves, to the multiple bow-lined spine, the dress was impeccable and the veil attached to her lovely tiara looked like a band of white flowers.

Grace Kelly’s wardrobe - TIFF

Of course, I must mention the shoes.

Each garment in the exhibit—from the dresses to the suits—was accompanied by matching footwear. Kelly’s heels were not sky-high, but probably felt as good they looked. All her shoes were custom-designed and matched her outfits perfectly, and were set in a slightly pointed toe. Her shoes really spoke of her era. She was a sensation in both cinema and culture, but her shoes represented a woman who simply wanted to look stylish without putting her feet through torture.

This exhibit really had a girl, like myself, thinking about the past, and the way Kelly managed to change the way people thought of fashion among other things and her kind and innovative persona. The news of her sudden death at 52 came as a blow to the world. Though her prominent time was decades ago, the exhibit made us remember why we fell in love with her in the first place.

Kelly’s life, although cut short, was extraordinary and nothing less than a modern fairy tale. She was an actress, princess, muse, and mother. Through this exhibit, you can see firsthand what made her an icon; it’s not an experience to be missed.


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