Rare Grace Kelly dress designs up for auction!




The iconic actress-turned-princess never ceases to charm, and fans with the cash will soon have a chance to own a part of Grace Kelly’s legacy.

Four costume design sketches of gowns worn by the Hollywood star in two Alfred Hitchcock films are going on sale this month at Christie’s auction house.

Drawn by the Hollywood costume designer Edith Head in the 1950s, each sketch is estimated to sell for between £6,000 - £8,000.

The collection includes three designs from her role in Rear Window and one from the film To Catch a Thief.

It was during the filming of To Catch a Thief on the French Riviera in 1955 that Grace Kelly first met Prince Rainier of Monaco. The coupled married the following year.

Photos: Christie's




LOT 84


Lot Description
Edith Head and Grace Kelly Rear Window, 1954
A watercolour and pencil costume sketch of Grace Kelly as Lisa Carol Fremont in the Paramount film Rear Window, 1954, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, the sketch showing Hitchcock's vision of a black and white evening gown worn by Grace Kelly in her opening scene, the outfit shown at two different angles, titled in pencil Grace Kelly and signed Edith Head, ink-stamped on the verso Paramount Pictures Corporation, framed; accompanied by a black and white film still [printed later] and a publicity photograph of Grace Kelly wearing this costume (3)

Lot Notes
Alfred Hitchcock had definite ideas as to how Grace Kelly would be dressed as his leading lady in Rear Window. He envisaged each costume to inevitably aid the development of Kelly's character to the audience, add to the conflict within the film and assist in advancing the narrative. Hitchcock noted his stipulations for each of the five costumes Kelly should wear in the script. Edith Head recalled, "There was a reason for every colour Grace wore, every style, and he was absolutely certain about everything...Hitch wanted her to appear like a piece of Dresden china, something slightly untouchable."

Edith Head and Grace Kelly worked closely together to create the costumes Hitchcock desired. Aided by Grace Kelly's beauty, understated glamour and modelling experience, it is perceived that these costumes are some of the most elegant that Edith Head designed. An example of this is visible in Grace Kelly's entrance in the film. To emphasise Kelly's introduction to the audience she wears a three quarter length evening gown comprising a black v-neck top and full white skirt embellished with black beading, identifying the character's love of fashion and affluent social status. Assisting Edith Head with the sketching of the costume designs was Grace Sprague, who was brought in from New York specifically to work on Rear Window.




LOT 85


Lot Description
Edith Head and Grace Kelly Rear Window, 1954
A watercolour and pencil costume sketch of Grace Kelly as Lisa Carol Fremont in the Paramount film Rear Window, 1954, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, the sketch showing Hitchcock's vision of a eau-du-nil green two piece suit and white halter-neck shirt worn by Grace Kelly during a scene where she and James Stewart, as L.B "Jeff" Jeffries, observe Raymond Burr, as Lars Thorwold [the salesman], going through his wife's handbag, the outfit shown at three different angles, signed in pencil by Edith Head and ink-stamped on the verso Paramount Pictures Corporation, framed; accompanied by a black and white publicity photograph [printed later] of Grace Kelly wearing the same costume (2)

Lot Notes
Grace Kelly's costumes in Rear Window were designed to depict Kelly's character as an astute career woman, working in the fashion industry, but also to exude her femininity and allure. The mint green Balenciaga inspired suit, with unexpected halter-neck white shirt underneath, is a perfect marriage to illustrate the various sides of Kelly's on-screen personality.




LOT 86


Lot Description
Edith Head And Grace Kelly Rear Window, 1954
A watercolour and pencil costume sketch of Grace Kelly as Lisa Carol Fremont in the Paramount film Rear Window, 1954, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, the sketch showing Hitchcock's vision of a floral sundress worn by Grace Kelly during the explosive scenes when the murder is discovered, signed in pencil by Edith Head and ink-stamped on the verso Paramount Pictures Corporation, framed; accompanied by a black and white publicity photograph [printed later] of Grace Kelly in this costume (2)

Lot Notes
This pretty floral dress was designed to heighten Grace Kelly's femininity when she breaks into Thorwold's apartment. To help to exaggerate this further Kelly added extra petticoats under the dress and wore high heels. In contrast to the other costumes we see Kelly in, this is the only one that has an obvious pattern on the material, a purposeful choice. It is of interest to see that in the accompanying press photograph of Kelly wearing this costume that she is holding a sun-hat, in the film this hat is absent.




LOT 87


Lot Description
Edith Head and Grace Kelly To Catch A Thief, 1955
A watercolour and pencil costume sketch of Grace Kelly as Frances Stevens in the Paramount film To Catch A Thief, 1955, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, the sketch showing Grace Kelly in her controversial beach-wear ensemble worn while walking through the hotel lobby when Cary Grant, as John Robie, first catches a glimpse of her, the outfit shown in three different angles, signed in pencil by Edith Head and ink-stamped on the front and verso Paramount Pictures Corporation, framed; accompanied by a black and white still from the set (2)

Lot Notes
Following on from the success of Edith Head and Grace Kelly working together on Rear Window the previous year, the duo were again able to combine creative influences. To Catch A Thief has been described as a visual delight and Edith was rewarded with an Academy Award nomination for her contribution.

It was while Grace Kelly was on location in the French Riviera filming To Catch A Thief that she first met Prince Rainier of Monaco, the following year they married.



So... if any of you were wondering what you could get me for Christmas... ;)

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