I had planned on seeing this exhibition a month ago, when Prince Albert II and wife were in town for the opening, but couldn't make it until this past Sunday when I finally took the subway and against the cold wind in Downtown I arrived at Toronto's TIFF Bell Lightbox ...the last day before closing.
I didn't have any expectations...I didn't know much about Grace Kelly, expect the well known facts: an actress, played mainly in Hitchcock films,(I have seen though To Catch a Thief), lately married The Prince of Monaco and become, of course, The Princess of Monaco. She is my grandmother's generation. I always find her an exquisitely beautiful woman and enjoy every photograph of her which expose the amazing style. That's what dragged me to the exhibition, and I wasn't disappointed.
The exhibition, rather small, presents Kelly's life as a movie star, as a bride and a mother, and as a princess. The visitors can see rarely displayed personal items, very carefully kept by Grace Kelly, from homemade videos, letters and personal correspondence, photos from princess's childhood and movie contracts to her signature bags, tiaras,white gloves, hats, glasses, jewelry, dresses and, of course, her iconic wedding dress. Among my favorites were a letter from Hitchcock, signed "Love Hitch", a handwritten greeting from Bing Crosby, a sweet love letter from the Prince and some rejection letters from filmmakers. There were lots of dresses and princess's outfits accompanied by photographs of the real events.
No doubt that Grace Kelly's classic good taste, combined with cool confidence and strong will creates a legacy of understated elegance.
But what I found really fascinating and goes beyond her incredible sense of style and simplicity is her personality. The exhibition somehow allows you to have a more intimate look at the WOMAN, and the combination of Kelly's high fashion and down to Earth thrift is truly captivating. All her dresses and bags were used and worn obviously more than several times. One could see the washed out look on some of the dresses or the stain on her shoe (she always matched the dress with shoes by the same fabric). The quotes written on the wall said "I kept my things longer than most people do. I am loyal to my old clothes as I am loyal to my old friends. If there is one thing that is foreign to me it is shopping for pleasure. On the other hand, I believe it is right to honor all those who create beautiful things and give satisfaction to those who see me wearing them. The truth is, I don't spend a great deal of money on clothes. There are other things I'd rather use it for."
and I thought
today when most celebrities or young girls shop like crazy(' til drop) and wear a dress only once and replays it months later,
when it is almost impossible for high profile individuals to re-wear outfit in public,
when many people would identify themselves and show a social status with the type of brand that they wear...
how the Princess had a common sense to stay herself and to maintain a simple yet elegant style !?!
With Grace , I guess !
While I was looking at the dresses and the photographs, the thought just struck me:
the dress is simply a dress, a material, a thing ... What makes the dress sparkle is the person who wore it.
Grace Kelly made each dress, the simple as may be, a masterpiece.
She radiated light, beauty and dignity.
She devoted her time to her family and children and as her kids grew, the princess became more involved with charitable and artistic causes(the Red Cross), and founded a creative outlet in poetry reading and work reflecting her love of flowers. She enjoyed gardening and the exhibition presents some of her frame collages of dried flowers petals. Grace Kelly also advocated breastfeeding; for that, I will admire her forever.
The Princess of Monaco died at age of 52 when she suffered a stroke at the wheel of a car.
What I will take with me from this visit is that Grace Kelly probably wasn't perfect, but who was?...She possessed an enduring style, but not only the style of simplicity and elegance made her stand out; it was about more than the clothes she wore. She proved that allure is about how you carry yourself and what you do with your life.
Did I tell you that I saw her real OSCAR statuette. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for the role in The Country Girl.
( and I am one step ahead of my sister in this one - my sister is an actress and she hasn't seen a real Oscar yet, but who knows, there is time ...:)
P.S. As any exclusive exhibition, photographs were not permitted, so I took some photos from a magazine and outside of the TIFF Bell Lightbox. If you want to see more details, there are lot of images circulating through the net. I decided not to post them as I follow the philosophy of my blog to use only pictures that are my own or are taken by me.
always stay true to yourself !
I am sharing with Suzanne ~ Monday Moments
Amy ~Virtual Coffee
Sarah ~ Good Life Wednesday