Thursday, August 07, 2008

Seing Grace


Only a few more days, before the Grace Kelly exhibition closes at the Paris Town hall. On display: many photos (from when she was a Hollywood actress till when she became Princess of Monaco), clothes (her wedding dress) and a few letters she wrote to Jackie Kennedy, Alfred Hitchcock, Cary Grant… No less! Oh yes, I almost forgot, they also show the purse that then became to all the French "Le Kelly" by Hermès (which was not invented for her though). I know she was originally American, but she slipped into the French (well Monaco !) lifestyle with a lot of ease... (Bonus: the soundtrack!)

59 comments:

  1. One of my all-time favorite Americans. Thanks for sharing this with us, Eric!

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  2. Yay again Alexa! Woo-Woo!!

    So now we have Eric, journalist to the stars. Nice.

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  3. And thanks for the links, too! Has this been a popular exhibit? I would think so.
    Okay, sorry about that 3X in a row. I'll stop now, I promise.

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  4. Is it too late to see it?
    A wonderful actress and such a beautiful woman...French influences, probably! ;) For a lot of us, she was almost French!

    Alexa, I wanted to congratulate you, and then I realized that if PHX CDG came here, she would tell you that the Constitution has to be respected--> two full lines of comment. LOL (I'm petty, so petty..). ;)
    Okay, I'm bowing: bravo!

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  5. Eric, as an American I can certainly appreciate how lovely Grace slipped into the French lifestyle with a lot of cheese. It happens to the best of us. Okay, I'm dialing "M" for no "more" bad word play. Alexa...after the Japanese group, as you know, I'm used to bowing.
    ;-)

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  6. Guille -- actually, I wasn't absolutely sure if my second line of thx to Eric would qualify or not. Either way, I won't quibble (now there's a good word!).

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  7. I'm not sure what I'm seeing in the foreground - roof? awning? scaffolding?

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  8. I remember that "BIG HAIR" look in Hollywood. We were all wearing hair pieces piled high on our heads. It was really heavy -- I don't know how many pounds it all weighed. And there is Grace in one of your photo links with the big hair and a CROWN. She took it up a notch. This is the photo I am referring to. http://www.paris.fr/portail/Culture/Portal.lut?page=multimedialist&page_id=102&id=67&pop=0

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  9. Very beautiful. Very refined.
    Such an attractive lady and not snob... My kind of Woman! lol
    Thank you for all the nice links you gave : a great tribute to her incredible feminine beauty. I wish I could have seen the exhibit but too late for me...
    Give her a kiss for me if you go!;)

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  10. Oooooooooooooh!!! Le SEXY handbag!!! I'm visualizing a pair of shoes to go with that bag...

    As Suzie-Eiffel-Tower would say, I think I need a cigarette now, even though I don't smoke! ;)

    Grace Kelly had a very fitting first name. Great post, Eric, and great angle for that shot!

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  11. 'Her incredible feminine beauty?' Well, yeah, ok, maybe, but I never knew the lady and was never part of her legend so I'll have to take your word for it.

    About the photo, you've taken it from a nice angle and made the star reasonably prominent, so full marks for that. I'd have taken it differently, but then that's just me! You've done a good job here!

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  12. Interesting question, usElaine. Looks like you might even be seeing some wires for the lighting. Eric, were you high up on the building to take this shot? I'm intrigued.

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  13. I don't have a lot of stories like this, but I do have a Grace Kelly story. I used to live in Philadelphia, near where her family lived, and she had a friend who lived on the same street that I did. So, every once in a while, I'd come home and find a limo waiting outside her friend's house while she visited. I only saw her once for a moment on her way into the car but she looked as charming as she always did elsewhere. I also think of her as "not a snob" which is so refreshing.

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  14. I forgot to say thanks to you Eric, once again, for your very nice photo. Its so incredible to get this daily update on life in Paris -- I don't ever want to take it for granted! Merci : )

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  15. Eric, the comments by you and others about how well Grace Kelly seemed to become integrated into French (or Monagast) society reminds me of an inscription I saw in the cathedral in Rheims.

    Below the stained glass windows by Chagall is a placque that identifies Chagall as "a Russian born French artist."

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  16. Only 11 films - was she more famous for her films or for leaving Hollywood?

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  17. Arghhh!! $!@#$@ Blogger keeps eating my comments tonight!!!

    OK, I'm visualizing shoes kind of like this

    http://www.super-sexy-high-heels.com/images/HOL-sep07-web/Monroe_purple.jpg

    but of course, you'd have to match the leather color and texture with the bag

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  18. Merde...I would love to see that exhibit! I loved the one they did on Yves Montand and also the Willy Ronis exhibit!! That was soooooper!!

    FYI...Eric..the pic on the PDP calendar for August was of the long table set for a dinner on an alley or dead end street. The glasses were upside down and the linens were white, with sparkling silver. I don't know where it appeared originally on PDP..desole'..but I am soooo Bizzy these days!! Like you?? Pas de vacance en aout??

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  19. apparently, there was another Grace Kelly bag

    http://www.thebaglady.tv/2007/11/aspinal_mayfair_2.html

    (this one comes in red, Ooooooooo!)

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  20. The only other time I heard of the Kelly bag was its use as a plot device in the movie "Le Divorce".

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  21. She was one of my favorite leading ladies of all time. She was beautiful, elegant, poised, and charming. I wish I could see this exhibition. It would be lovely.

    She was the fairy tale princess that every girl dreams of being. She may or may not have lived "happily ever after", but I hope she did.

    Thanks for sharing this with us, Eric!

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  22. Carrie, Merci for telling us your Grace Kelly story. I love hearing true-life experiences like that.

    David and David (two Davids), Clever comments ;-)

    Tonton, I know the photo -- this one? "Street Party" http://photos1.blogger.com/photoInclude/hello/241/3707/1024/2006-10-05-%20StreetParty.jpg

    Petrea, It looks like Eric shot it from another window across from the billboard. Do you think he will tell us? Maybe he will act like it's a "trade secret" :)

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  23. I once had dinner with Grace Kelly. Not really. I just thought I would say that before somebody else did.

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  24. I saw this exhibition in Monaco last year. Do hope the one in Paris was the full exhibition. I found it so moving. It was designed by Mitterand's nephew - Frederic. Sections for her family, areas to listen to her in interview (some so sad), all those amazing dresses she wore to the balls in Monte Carlo - and loads on her childhood too. And gardening - she loved gardens. It's one, if not the, best exhibition I ever saw. Monaco still misses her as you can imagine.

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  25. Oh, I love her! So refined!

    I also love getting to say Grace and Kelly in the same breath. Something that in my everyday waking hours, I am not likely to hear...

    I think she also inspired the name of the Hermes fragrance I wear every day.

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  26. She was so good, she was impossible to imitate or even satirize. Grace was nothing but class. Nobody has ever come close.

    I wish I could see the exhibit.

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  27. I love all of Grace Kelly's films, but especially Rear Window and It Takes a Thief. She made style look easy.

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  29. Years ago, I had bed linens with decoration based on her pressed flower designs. Not the same as having dinner with her, of course.

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  30. Eric, forgetting the subject, person, celebrity, history, etc., this is a great photo. It's like the sign is not even up yet and you're there to get a photo.

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  31. I've just read the other comments and am dying laughing at "anonymous". I thought for sure that Lois would say she knew Grace or something... LOL

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  32. Carrie...thanks for sharing that cool memory of Philly's own. I recall how elated I was when I caught beads tossed by Smokey Robinson at a Mardis Gras in New Orleans. [my brief brush with a celeb] Lois, on the other hand,and probably Alexa too have probably partied with Smokey and the Miracles. ;-)

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  33. Anonymous! So funny.

    Coltrane, I almost met Smokey once. I was working in a shoe store in West Hollywood (Fred Segal, very tony) and they ushered him into the back where the shoes are stored. I froze. He could have been anyone else and I'd have been fine. One of the other employees had to drag me out of the room.

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  34. Petrea...a vaklempf moment! I totally understand! ;-)

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  35. Jilly, The was so informative and very moving. Merci

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  36. Petrea - That shows what a difference it makes when someone was wired into our childhood dreams and sense of "otherworldliness" of musical stars especially, but movie stars as well. Jilly of Monaco/Menton just reported strolling past Jude Law recently. sigh

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  37. USelaine, Grace did pressed flower designs? I should check that out. Don't you just love to put a special leaf or flower in a book.

    In my rock n roll days, when I was in NYC working with an animator and a jazz musician, they said that they knew Smokey. I told them that I would love to do album cover design work for him. They said that would never happen because he is prejudice, and only works with black artists. So they would not introduce me to him. End of conversation -- they would not discuss it further.

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  38. USelaine, I took a quick moment to see if I could find one of Grace's pressed flower designs. It does appear all over the internet that Grace had an art studio at Roc Angel where she worked on her pressed flower art. I'm really busy today -- so I am going to have to get back to this later :) No vacation this year.

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  39. Lois - She did a book called My Book of Flowers that you can find about halfway down that page. So, in a way, I can say I "slept with" Grace Kelly. Sort of steps up the connection competition, I'd say. ;^)

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  40. Lois...I'd say Smokey missed out on meeting a lovely, unique, talented, and nonprejudicial gal. ;-) [excuse me if I left something out]

    On the flip side of that coin, our Black artists were treated miserably...as I'm sure you know.

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  41. USElaine, Merci for the link. I am going to check into this. So, Princess Grace slept at your house. LOL what an original.

    Coltrane, What a lovely man you are to say that. I was thinking, maybe what they said was true at the time; however, people sometimes change. I still love Smokey's voice regardless. BTW You always write interesting and amuzing comments. You have a great sense of humor.

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  42. I just took the time to look at all your links. You exhibit grace and class in your selection of items for your own tribute to her on PDP.

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  43. One additional thought with all this dialogue about Grace Kelly. Does anyone remember Hope Cooke? She was an American socialite who married the king of Sikkim, a principality in the Himalayas, in a variation of the Grace Kelly story.

    The two of them ruled as the Namgyal and Chogyal of Sikkim for years until the Indian government deposed the monarchy, abolished the country and annexed Sikkim. She had to flee the country and return to the U.S. without him.

    Not the same tragedy as Grace Kelly, but another sad ending to a fairy tale life.

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  44. Uselaine..."Le Divorce"????? Beurrrrkkkk...LOL!! That movie is full of every stupid, idiotic, cliche that any American writer could possibly think of when they are asked.."Quick...write a book we can turn into a screenplay full of every stereotype about the French you can imagine"!!! LOL!!! However the shots of Paris are great and Leslie Caron was quite funny...not to mention Stockard Channing, Glenn Close and Thierry L'Hermitte!!

    Not to brag, but I encountered Princess Grace while working at a famous hotel once and I know you won't believe this, but I DIDN'T call her "Gracie"...although the thought was in my mind and almost caused me to burst out laughing while I was in her "presence"! She was beautiful but "de Trop"!!! ;-)

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  45. Tonton - Hey, I wasn't necessarily endorsing the movie, just pointing out where I heard of the bag! ;^)

    Say g'nite, Gracie.

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  46. david--costarica....WOW!! I do remember Hope Cooke!! Just read your comment, and I remember very well when she married the Chogyal of Sikkim and it was in LIFE magazine. I was ten years old and it made me go to the library and read all about Sikkim.

    She went to Sarah Lawrence college and was dropped from the Social Register for marrying him. Even though he was royalty he was a foreigner and a Buddhist; which was not acceptable for an Episcopalian WASP whose family was in the "Social Register". She now lives in Brooklyn Heights, New York. She was so lovely when she was young and quite fey.

    Uselaine...I wasn't criticizing you...I actually have seen the movie twice[I love Leslie Caron.. ;-) ..]it is just that the movie is almost a farce regarding French culture and society and yet the writer presents it as being "realistic"...which makes it more grotesque!! G'nite Gracie...Love it..LOL!!

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  47. Tonton - No harm, no foul! 8^) Honest! I will confess to enjoying Caron in "Chocolat". I endorse that.

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  48. I remember when Grace married Ranier and all the hoopla surrounding it. What a lovely bride she made. I would love to see here wedding dress. If I'd gotten married, that's the kind of dress I'd have wanted.
    David - I do remember Hope Cooke and her exotic choice of groom. Tonton - thanks for the update on what happened to her.
    The only royalty I've seen in person was a glimpse of Charles and Camilla when they were in SF a few years ago.

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  49. I missed seeing Abdullah II, King of Jordan about a month ago here in Mendocino county. He was riding his Harley incognito through the redwood highway north of us.

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  50. Hope Cooke lives in Brooklyn Heights? Who knew? Maybe I'll run into her one day (and probably not know it).
    What about Lisa Hallaby, who married King Hussein of Jordan and became Queen Noor (now the dowager queen)? She even looks a bit like Grace Kelly. (And btw, she has a sister named Alexa.)

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  51. I do love this soundtrack... I didn't pay attention to that, at first, and now i do...
    Thrilling questions.

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  52. tonton flaneur,
    I was interested to read your recollection of Hope Cooke. Here's some additional information I can add on the subject.

    When she was engaged to be married to the chogyal of Sikkim and would become the queen or "gyalmo" of Sikkim, she renounced her U.S. citizenship and became a citizen of Sikkim. She did so in the best interests of the U.S. and Sikkim, as it would not be proper to have a U.S. citizen serve as the ruler of another country. Furthermore, it would promote her acceptance in Sikkim if she were a citizen of that country, not the U.S.

    All that was fine until she had to flee Sikkim when the Indians seized the country and deposed the royal family. She returned to the U.S., naturally enough, but she was no longer a U.S. citizen. It was my privilege to do the staff work on a special bill that was passed in the U.S. Congress to grant her a permanent residency visa to allow her to remain in the U.S. I was employed a the time by a Member of Congress who previously had been the U.S. Chief of Protocol in the State Department and he had hosted a visit of the Sikkim royal family to the U.S. He introduced the bill that allowed her to remain in the U.S., as she was literally a woman without a country at that time.

    I was honored to meet with her, keep her posted on the progress of the legislation, and help her through the process, as it is not a simple thing to get a special law for one person enacted by Congress. She is a delightful, warm person, and I was pleased to be inspired by this dialogue to Google her and read about her this evening to catch up on her life.

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  53. That's a fantastic story - thank you so much for posting it here!

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  54. David --- what an amazing story! What an interesting and varied group of people meet here. Thanks for sharing that with us. I am always surprised by posts that are spurred by the photos or by comments derived from the photos. I'd never heard of Hope Cooke, but, now, I'm going to read her story.

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