The Thinking 

A “Perfectly Upright Elegance”

May 1, 2011


Princess Grace at wedding cropped at sides 3 

GRACE KELLY’S wedding dress and the dresses of her attendants were modest, elegant and feminine, as opposed to the dresses of Kate Middleton and her maid of honor, as is discussed in the previous entry.

In 1954, Pope Pius XII spoke to the International Congress of Master Tailors and Designers. He said:

Instead of elevating and ennobling the human person, the modern fashions are tending to degrade and debase it. Even if you are not responsible for these deplorable manifestations, you cannot remain indifferent to them. Far from going along with the already too strong inclination toward immodesty, always be careful to respect the norms of decency and good taste, of a sanely understood and perfectly upright elegance. [emphasis added]

In brief, instead of following the materialist current which is leading so many people astray today, deliberately put yourselves at the service of spiritual ends. It is not possible to partition human life, to fix certain spheres of it in which morality has no word to say. Clothes express in too evident a fashion the tendencies and tastes of a person to escape from certain very clear rules that surpass and must govern the simple aesthetic point of view.

Today, clothes designers sell bridal wear that does not “respect the norms of decency and good taste.” Almost all wedding dresses feature bare shoulders or low cut necklines, as if it is possible to look virginal if the dress is simply white.



                                                                                                            — Comments —

Paul writes:

Grace Kelly was, by far, the most beautiful and refined woman I ever beheld.

Fred Owens writes:

As for Grace Kelly posing as the model of bridal purity, her private life was a perfect scandal of debauchery and this pose was a fraud put on by a talented actress.

Kate’ own vices are modest in comparison, even if her dress was not.

Laura writes:

The dress does not make the woman.

Hurricane Betsy writes:

This is an interesting topic. The Pope’s words are so wise, gentle and intelligent. Imagine, the leader of a church making pronouncements on women’s dresses. 

I would argue that it’s all relative. From looking at a whole slew of photos of her, I don’t find Grace Kelly’s dress particularly modest. It is tight and emphasizes the breasts and waist, same as Kate’s. (Oooooh, look at me, how slender & shapely I am!) I’ve looked at pictures of traditional wedding garb across the cultures and see that they have largely made way for the worst western bridal dresses imaginable. Here’s a couple of nice ones, though – one from decades ago and one recent. The second photo is from Ukraine, 2007. I note the serious look on the participants’ faces, unlike all the little grinning bits of business between Kate & William.





Mrs. P. writes:

Princess Grace was a beautiful woman and very elegant. But in the interest of being fair to William and Kate, I want to point out a few things about Princess Grace and Prince Rainier. Princess Grace was 27 years old when she married Prince Rainier and it was probably true according to reports that she had had affairs with several of her leading men during her acting career. So she probably was not a virgin when she married the Prince. As to Prince Rainier himself, he openly lived with a French film star, Gisele Pascal for about six years prior to marrying Grace. They would have married except a doctor examined Ms. Pascal and determined she was infertile. Prince Rainier needed to produce an heir to the throne otherwise Monaco would revert to France upon his death. Oddly enough Ms. Pascal went on to marry someone else and give birth to one child. 

I thought Kate made a beautiful bride. I thought her dress was beautiful and modest enough. I do not endorse their previous lifestyle of living together, but I wish William and Kate well in their marriage and new roles. I will be hoping they do justice to their titles and serve as good examples to the rest of us. 

As a side note, my husband and I and some of his business associates spent nearly a week in Monaco in the 1970’s prior to Princess Grace’s untimely and unfortunate death. I remember walking up a narrow, cobblestone street leading to the castle. It was lined with small shops and restaurants. One night our group ate dinner at a small restaurant on this street. We were told that Prince Rainier came down from the castle to that restaurant once a week to eat dinner there himself. It might not have been true, but it was fun to think it was true. We also caught a glimpse of Princess Grace and her entourage entering one of the casinos in Monaco on another night.

Laura writes:

Just to clarify, I was only posting Grace’s picture to comment on her wedding gown, and not on her life.


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