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Amazing Grace

One of Hollywood’s most beloved actresses gets a retrospective fit for a princess.

Grace Kelly was Hollywood royalty—literally.

NOVEMBER 4 TO JANUARY 22 Though the glamour of September’s Toronto International Film Festival—and its attendant stars like George Clooney and Ryan Gosling—has now faded until next fall, the TIFF Bell Lightbox knows how to stay in the headlines. This month, this city’s centre of cinema casts the spotlight on another shining Hollywood star: Grace Kelly. Emerging as an actress during American filmmaking’s golden age, Kelly appeared in 11 features, including High Noon, Rear Window and The Country Girl, for which she won an Academy Award, and became well known for her remarkable elegance and style. Having garnered the public’s attention, Kelly then caught the eye of Prince Rainier III of Monaco, to whom she was married from 1956 until her untimely death in 1982. A cultural icon in every sense, Princess Grace’s showcase is a natural follow-up to the Lightbox’s previous Federico Fellini exhibition, which dwelled on the origins of celebrity. Now, Grace Kelly: From Movie Star to Princess offers a singular look at one of cinema’s brightest lights and the public’s fascination with both her work and personal life.

On-screen and off, Kelly was also an icon of 20th-century fashion. The exhibition focuses heavily on landmark couture pieces that the actress-turned-monarch made famous. Notably, an exact replica of her peau de soie and lace wedding gown, originally created by MGM costumer designer Helen Rose, is slated to be on special display.

The TIFF Bell Lightbox’s exhibition is drawn from recent Grace Kelly retrospectives at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. As such, it’s the first North American venue to feature items from these celebrated archives. The star’s famous “Kelly bag” by Hermès, signature Van Cleef and Arpels tiara, and many of her most notable designer dresses are among the showpieces. Fans will no doubt be drawn to other artifacts, too, including intimate home movies, telegrams from Prince Ranier, letters from director Alfred Hitchcock, plus a variety of photos from Kelly’s past.

Accompanying the exhibition, TIFF also offers a film series titled Icy Fire: The Hitchcock Blonde (November 4 to December 11), which presents Kelly—who was a Hitchcock muse in Dial M for Murder and Rear Window—as the prototypical aloof-yet-passionate female lead, paving the way for such actresses as Janet Leigh and Eva Marie Saint. A second retrospective, Grace on Screen (December 15 to 29), rewards audiences with much of Kelly’s remaining repertoire, including Mogambo and The Bridges at Toko-Ri.

Grace Kelly: From Movie Star to Princess is on display at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Tuesday to Sunday, $15; call 416-599-8433 or visit here for more information and to purchase tickets.

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