Thursday, April 5, 2012

Grace Kelly Exhibition...a happy and sad tale.....

How very beautiful was the Grace Kelly exhibition at Bendigo's wonderful Art Gallery. If you have not been yet, or have not yet planned to attend, I highly recommend that you do so ASAP before it is all sold is proving to be one of the most popular exhibitions Bendigo has ever had. This is no mean feat considering they have staged two previous sensational exhibitions from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London prior to this momentous event - 200 Years of Wedding Fashion last year, and The Golden Age of Couture the year before.

Personally, I couldn't help squeaking with delight as soon as I walked in the exhibition door and saw not one, or two, but three costumes from the adored "High Society".....I kept quoting lines under my breath hoping that no one nearby would think I was insane....but it simply couldn't be helped! Not when you are face to face with the dress that embellished the lines "...and Jack the Ripper - where did he teach? Your father I mean...." or the swimming gown that lends Grecian elegance to the statement 'but I dont want to be worshiped, I want to be loved", and the perfectly equisit pre wedding ballgown that ends up 'in the swimming pool' when Tracey Lord declares "I dont know about you, but I'm going to go in the water". Yes, it is one of my favourite movies......

But so is Rear Window, and there are costumes from that as well. There is Grace's Oscar accepting dress and Oscar on display. There are outfits from her pre wedding trousseau. A replica of her wedding dress I found more captivatingly beautiful that the footage of the wedding had allowed. And there was oodles of footage of Grace at growing up, in the early years of her career, and particularly at home with her family in Monaco. For me, the visit with my best friend Brooke and one very well behaved son was delightful in every way.........

However, there was an underlying element of sadness to the whole exhibition too - particularly once one moved on from the film screening into the Monaco era. The footage made it all too real that Grace was not a happy princess. That she was resigned, sad, and somewhat lost. I was aware before seeing the exhibition that Grace had felt trapped in the years following her marriage - unable to act any longer, a celebrity Princess locked away in her pink palace, devoting herself to her children while craving greater meaning for her life. However, the exhibition and interview footage with Grace gave pronouncement to that sad reality. A woman devoted to her husband and children, but completely at the loss of herself, her freedom, her independence. How are any of us to know in our early 20's what the consequences of seemingly noble, worthwhile and fairytale like choices may mean for the rest of our lives? I walked away in awe of Grace's elegance and beauty, but saddened by the pain her life choice brought her. I am sure there are many women - not just princesses - throughout history who have, can or do identify with Grace's elemental story.......

But, not to leave this review on a sad note, do go and see this wonderful, informative and beautiful will most certainly not be sorry you did!


  1. I love the photo of Grace in the white bikini at the beach - this is when she was filming To Catch a Thief. What a wonderful exhibition - I hope it comes to NZ and I can see it.

    1. I love all these photos of Grace, they are so natural looking and completly unstaged like many of her modeling and studio portraits.....they exhibition is wonderful Penny-Rose, for your sake I hope it comes to NZ too !!! XOXO


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