According to Daniel, one of the many informed guides you will find working at the Grace Kelly exhibit, now on display at TIFF Bell Lightbox until Jan. 22, there are two versions of what happened the night that the world-famous actress won the Oscar for The Country Girl in 1954. The official version is that Kelly won, went home by herself, put her Academy Award on her mantel and later said that she, in that moment, felt like “the loneliest person in the world.” The UNOFFICIAL version is that Kelly won, but went home with Marlon Brando, which upset Bing Crosby, whom she was seeing at the time. Crosby then showed up at her house to confront them and Brando punched him out. Judy Garland also called Kelly later that night and accused her of stealing her last chance of winning an Oscar (Garland was nominated for A Star Is Born). When Kelly relayed the accusation to Brando after getting off the phone, he responded, “Well, that’s kind of true.”
This is just one of the many glimpses into the personal side of Kelly that you will have at Grace Kelly: From Movie Star to Princess, the exhibition that chronicles the life of the legendary actress and style icon.
Last night, media and royals (un)alike gathered at TIFF Bell Lightbox for a preview of one of the most hotly anticipated events of the venue’s season. Kelly’s son, Monaco’s Prince Albert II, and his wife Princess Charlene, traveled to Toronto for a private reception to officially open the show, which opens to the public on Friday, Nov. 4. Wine and champagne flowed, music and dancing ensued and the doors to Grace Kelly’s life and career were opened.The exhibition is accompanied by two film programs: Icy Fire: The Hitchcock Blonde, an exploration of Alfred Hitchcock’s obsession with the archetypal cool blonde goddess that Kelly played for him in three of her films, and Grace on Screen, an overview of Kelly’s very brief but very successful film career (she made 11 films in 5 years and then stopped when she became engaged to Prince Rainier III of Monaco).
In addition to many personal quotes from Kelly and a wall of floor-to-ceiling vintage magazine cover shots of the icon, including ones from Time, Redbook and Life, a number of items related to her film career are featured. Screen test shots, movie posters and written correspondence between the actress and Alfred Hitchcock are displayed. Previews of her movies play on the walls as well as Kelly’s personal home videos. Her Academy Award for The Country Girl is prominently showcased.
But it doesn’t stop there. Fashion much? Indeed. The exhibition also includes a collection of her designer garments and accessories, including dresses, hats and sunglasses by Chanel, Dior, YSL and Balenciaga. The assortment of sunglasses in funky prints and shapes prompted the exclamation from my friend Nick that, “she was a hipster too!” and there was an elaborately jewel-decorated headdress on one mannequin that I’d really like to borrow for my 30th birthday. Also on display are her rose point lace civil ceremony dress and an exact replica of her famous wedding gown (complete with 21-inch waist - whatever), recreated by one of Kelly’s personal seamstresses. Her Van Cleef and Arpels tiara and infamous, much-coveted Hermès “Kelly” bag are also there for your viewing pleasure. So, like, um, no big deal or anything.
It’s a fantastic celebration of and intimate glimpse into the life of one of the most-beloved screen queens of the twentieth-century (and royal princesses – girlfriend was royalty everywhere she went!). The myriad memorabilia is an in-depth reflection of her sense of style and glamour.
But of course, if that isn’t enough, go see Daniel for more details.
Toronto is the only North American stop for Grace Kelly: From Movie Star to Princess. The show combines elements of recent exhibits at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and the Grimaldi Forum Monaco. It opens tomorrow, Friday, November 4 and continues through to January 22. Buy tickets here.
~ Lindsay Tapscott
~ Photos courtesy of Photofest