Thursday, 24 May 2012

Eternal Grace

I finally made it on a day trip to the Bendigo Art Gallery last week and viewed the Grace Kelly, Style Icon exhibition.   Mannequin after mannequin dressed in Princess Grace's evening gowns, boucle suits, day dresses, and of course that wedding gown.  Hats, cloches, stilettos, sandals, handbags and my favourite, the Cartier jewellery (hmmm).

The gowns were all there - the mint green Edith Head dress that she wore to accept her Academy Award; the light as air grey and pink chiffon Helen Rose gown that she wore while dancing with Frank Sinatra in High Society; the McCall pattern dress in floral silk taffeta photographed by Paris Match when she stepped out with the Prince,  the much copied wedding gown and veil in full view; all the labels were represented, Balanciaga (encrusted column dress), Chanel (boucle coat-dress), YSL (Mondrian dress), Madame Gres (fluid jersey columns) and Dior (Bayadere dress).  My favourites were a Dior by Marc Bohan coral coloured silk jersey with gold beaded bodice and extravagant headpiece Princess Grace wore at the Oriental Ball in 1969; the beautiful chiffon Helen Rose silk embroidered gown she wore in High Society and Oleg Cassini lace dress.

Above all, the standout for me was the short film screenings that were held in a side room (full to capacity) - things like private film of the children playing with a hose in the garden on a hot summers day; or Bing Crosby with a golf club looking like he's giving tips to Prince Ranier; or Cary Grant enjoying a visit at the Palace with the kids by the swimming pool; or Prince Ranier and Princess Grace with family just relaxing on board a yacht in the Mediterranean with Aristotle Onassis and Maria Callas.  These images in their grainy, 8 mm, silence give the most candid insights into what we might have imagined Princess Grace's life was like away from the hoop-la and circus of the paparazzi and special occasions.  I could have sat there and watched the collection of photos and family films over and over again.

If you're interested in fashion and film, indeed fashion in film, and of a style that's since gone - the exhibition would be right up your alley!

Detail of embroidery


Oleg Cassini Cream Lace dress with bracelet length sleeves
boat neck at the front and deep V at the back - very Alexander McQueen

Grace Kelly Tells How to Travel Light

Wearing Green & Pink Chanel Coatdress - timeless

Wearing Cristobel Balenciaga embroidered bolero jacket (gorgeous!)
with white silk column underneath

Dior dress with elaborate headpiece
at the Oriental Ball 1969 - you can't make out
the beautiful beaded bodice under that stole!


classiq said...

To be able to see all these gowns up-close. I still regret not making it to the exhibition in London two years ago. I was on the way to the Victoria & Albert Museum when we received a phone call from home saying that our car might have been stolen. Well, it wasn't in the end, but by the time we figured it out the day was ruined and the next day we were flying back home.

Another truly wonderful post, Helen. I think that, just like you, most of all I would have enjoyed the family films you are talking about. The real life Grace Kelly. :)

Anonymous said...

I would really like to see that exhibition, all these beautiful clothes up-close. Oh my, you lucky girl. The film clips sound wonderful, definitely something I'd enjoy.

Anonymous said...

I'm so jealous!! I absolutely adore and idealize the lovely Grace Kelly!

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