Yesterday I attending the much-hyped (both in the media and in my mind) Grace Kelly: Style Icon exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery.
I’ve been a fan of Kelly since I first saw her in Rear Window three Christmas’ ago, and when my mum showed me the gallery’s brochure on upcoming events this time last year, I was wetting my pants with excitement to see an exhibition based around one of the most beautiful and talented actresses of the golden age of Hollywood.
In preparation, I watched High Society and To Catch a Thief (still have to check off Dial M for Murder on my list of Grace must-sees), but Rear Window will forever remain in my heart as my favourite Kelly film (and one of my favourite films, period).
While the exhibition disappointingly didn’t feature Kelly’s signature Rear Window dress, the black and white cocktail length ballgown from her opening scene in the movie, it did have on display the black mid-length dress from the film, which is so classic and timeless it could be seen on the street today.
The dearth of clothes from her first ten films were made up for in the several pieces from High Society, her last film and one from which she was allowed to keep her wardrobe. These were followed up with the dress she met Prince Rainier in, the famous Hermès Kelly bag, her bridal trousseau and, of course, a replica of her wedding gown (the original’s fabric is too delicate to travel).
The rest of the exhibition consisted of a myriad of Grace’s own clothes after she became a princess: a powder blue gown to conceal her baby bump and some elegantly embellished suits were my favourites. Despite references to the Princess’ reluctance to embrace the sky high hemlines of the sixties, there was an Yves Saint Laurent Mondrian dress, a staple of the times, and some flowing seventies-style gowns.
From the fairytale exhibition I had dreamed up in my head, I had much higher expectations than what was presented at the gallery. This is not to say that Grace Kelly: Style Icon isn’t an exhibition worth seeing, if fashion and movies and Kelly are your thing. But, compared with some of the other exhibitions Bendigo Art Gallery has hosted, it might be their most hyped one but certainly not their best.