I recently designed a Grace Kelly inspired wedding cake and whilst browsing the internet I came across an article about MGM’s designer costume designer Helen Rose. I read that Helen had been Grace Kelly’s wedding dress designer. Helen Rose was hired by Twentieth century fox in 1942 to work on their musicals. By 1956 she had designed the clothes for the stars of more than ninety films. Of these films four were for Grace Kelly, including one of my all time favourite musicals ‘High Society’. While working on the film Helen received the assignment to design Grace’s wedding dress for her marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco and their starting point was one of the ball gowns worn in the movie. MGM studios made every resource available to Helen and the gown took six weeks to prepare and involved 35 MGM craftspeople who all worked to make the dress to be a masterpiece.
Grace’s wedding gown was the most expensive design that Helen Rose had ever made. It used twenty-five yards of silk taffeta and one hundred yards of silk net. Its 125-year-old rose point lace was purchased from a museum and thousants of tiny pearls were sewn on the veil. Grace was 26 years old.
The 600 wedding guests included Hollywood stars David Niven and his wife, Gloria Swanson, Ava Gardner, the Aga Khan, and Conrad Hilton. Queen Elizabeth flatly refused to attend on the grounds of there being “too many movie stars.” The ceremony was watched on television by an estimated 30 million people!