Grace Kelly: a graceful masterclass in allure

Frocks in glass boxes aren’t usually much of a turn-on. Fabric conservation and display may have come a long way since I first began haunting the Victoria and Albert Museum as a child, but even the most lovingly restored dress is really only the shed skin of the beautiful, bygone creature that wore it. A dressmaker’s dummy might show off a garment’s cut but it can’t set its skirts in motion or rustle the silk of its lining.

The V&A’s new Grace Kelly: Style Icon exhibition doesn’t have this problem because the 40 gowns on display are brought to life by moviegoer memories of the actress who wore them. And for those sad souls who might have forgotten how beautiful Kelly was, how easily and stylishly she shimmered through space, there are lovely little loops of film. Grace in Hollywood, Grace at the altar, Grace in Monaco: the actress; the bride and the Princess.

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