Grace Kelly's Style Secrets Revealed in New Exhibit

If you are in London this summer or fall, head to the Victoria and Albert museum in South Kensington to visit one of its most popular exhibitions yet. "Grace Kelly: Style Icon" explores the style of the woman who was muse to Alfred Hitchcock and wife to Prince Rainier of Monaco.

VIDEO: London museum puts Grace Kellys fashionable wardrobe on display.
Grace Kelly's Style Secrets Revealed

In an interview with, the exhibition's curator, Jenny Lister, says she wanted "to focus purely on her style and why she has become this fashion icon. I think many people know her for being the epitome of good taste and style in the 1950s but the exhibition brings her story right through the decades of her life, through the sixties and seventies."

So what can one expect? There are a lot of film posters, stills from Kelly's most famous films, but this is an exhibition primarily devoted to clothes, and there are plenty of those to see here.

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There's an LBD (little black dress) worn by the actress in Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 classic "Rear Window" -- which would not look amiss in a Roland Mouret collection today.

For those who love old Hollywood glamor, there's a gown on display from "High Society," the 1956 musical in which Kelly was cast opposite Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. As Lister explains, it's made up of "many layers of diaphanous silk chiffon, grays and pink - the pastel shades which she is very associated with. And it's full length - she wore it to dance in a scene with Frank Sinatra. And although it's demure and covered up, with full-length sleeves and a high neckline, it's actually very sensual as well."

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It's a far cry from the dare-bare style preferred by so many celebrities today, but even so, Lister says she believes that top Hollywood actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet continue to emulate Kelly's example.

"I think it's because she's become this code for that classic, streamlined look which works so well on the red carpet," she says, adding that by dressing like her, "they think they will achieve the same sort of poise and elegance that she was so well known for."

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You can't buy elegance or indeed, the hand-stitched dresses exhibited here (some of which -- like Yves Saint Laurent's Mondrian-inspired dress -- have become famous in their own right), but if there is a lesson to be learnt from Kelly, it may be the attention she brought to classic, figure-flattering styles.

Grace Kelly's Style: Simple and Practical

As Lister says, "At the time she wore very conventional clothes in many ways, so shirt waisters, twin sets, headscarves [...] and i just think those styles have just, [they] never really go out of fashion and many women use her as a reference point while getting dressed."

It's a far cry from today's trend-driven shopping culture. Grace Kelly dressed simply, and, in a gesture which may surprise many of her fans, often wore the same clothes again and again.

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