Princess Grace of Monaco (Grace Kelly) Oral History

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Princess Grace of Monaco (Grace Kelly) Oral History


Princess Grace of Monaco (Grace Kelly) interviewed by Vera Maxwell and John Touhey on December 19, 1978.
This interview consists of two main portions, the first being a casual conversation between Vera Maxwell and Princess Grace while looking at a photo album. The second portion is a formal interview by FIT's John Touhey with Princess Grace. In the first portion, Maxwell and Princess Grace reminisce on their times together in Switzerland and their mutual love of tweed. The photo album prompts conversation regarding the accelerating rate of change in fashion, various hemlines, and fashionable silhouettes. The loose fitting styles popular at the time of the interview prompt Maxwell to repeatedly mention classic tailoring and body types. Press coverage of the fashion industry as well as coverage of Princess Grace's style is also discussed. In the formal interview with John Touhey, Princess Grace describes her relationship with Vera Maxwell and then moves on to discuss trends in women's fashion and how they relate to personal style. She mentions her particular distaste for the "sack look" (likely referring to the gunney sack dress) and mini skirts, both popular styles at the time of the interview. Dior, Saint Laurent, Ben Zuckerman, and Vera Maxwell are all mentioned as favorite designers. An American film actress before becoming the Princess of Monaco, Kelly often had a large hand in developing her film costumes and she discusses working with costumer Edith Head while filming with Alfred Hitchcock.
Princess Grace of Monaco was born Grace Kelly on November 12, 1929 in Philadelphia, PA. Kelly began her film acting career at age 20 and won 3 Golden Globe awards and 1 academy award over the next 6 years. Her successful, albeit brief, acting career ended when she became Princess Grace of Monaco through her marriage to Prince Rainier III in 1956 at the age of 26.The Prince and Princess had three children together, Caroline, Albert, and Stephanie. Kelly continued to be a fashion icon, admired for her classically tailored looks and comfortable elegance. She was credited with inspiring the "fresh-faced and healthy" American look. Princess Grace died on September 14, 1982, one day after a stroke caused her to lose control of her vehicle, resulting in a car crash. A longtime friend of Princess Grace, Vera Maxwell was born Vera Huppe on April 22, 1901 in New York City. A professional ballet dancer with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet company for five years, Maxwell became known as a fashion designer in the 1930s after a brief modeling career. Maxwell was known for her easy to wear clothes as well as sportswear. She won a Coty American Fashion Critics' Award in 1953. At the time of this recording, the two women had been friends for 23 years, starting with their meeting at the Neiman Marcus Awards in 1955, in which they were both being honored.


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