So the Grace Kelly exhibition has now finished, which makes this post a little pointless. But wait! You might want to hear a bit about Ms Kelly and I was also very impressed by the whole set up of the V&A Friday lates – defintitely worth a trip to South Ken.
So what did I learn about Ms Kelly from the exibition? Well, she wore nice clothes. She was slim and elegant and incredibly fashion-conscious – I wasn’t a massive fan of the 60s preppy look (I prefer Marilyn Monroe’s glamour) but I did like the azure blue kaftans she wore in the 70s and her incredible hairstyles. And Monaco in the 70s looked like a hoot – all fancy dress parties and giant headdresses and visiting dignitary outfit-offs.
But there’s a bunch of stuff we never find out. Like what initially attracted her to the billionaire royal Prince Rainer? What was it like for an American sweetheart Oscar-winning actress to up and move thousands of miles to play Princess in Monaco? Was she happy there? And did she ever wake up and go “oh sod it” and pad round her palace in a velour tracksuit and slippers? For all her style and charm (I have never felt quite so frumpy for a while), I was left wanting to know more. But this was all about the clothes – she was the original Carla Bruni/Victoria Beckham celebrity clothes horse – adored and copied and original and stunning. I must admit I don’t know her very well as an actress so I’m going to have a look at High “what a swell party this is” Society soon. I also loved how the exhibition was filled with young fashionistas and elegant well-coiffed older ladies – she was obviously an inspiration to many.
But a real surprise was how great the V&A Friday late was. Slightly hampered by the weather – its now too cold to sit outside sipping Pimms by the pond – you can still admire the amazing building and incredible ceilings and lamp shades of the cafe at the back over a glass of rouge (see photos at the top), and then wander round the standing exhibits. There are talks, installations and workshops all over the place so you could easily spend a few hours there. And by the time we left, the cocktail bar was going strong with funky-looking martinis, quirky DJs with fabulous eyelashes (I left to the sounds of Creedence Clearwater Revival) and people dancing all round the central hall. The V&A has got their lates bang on – free, fun and cultural. The Natural History Museum has nailed it too – a brilliant night out is seeing their Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition on a Friday night and then staying back for champagne under the giant dinosaur while listening to a jazz band. I’ve heard the British Museum is getting there too.
Guess who’s been playing with the shutter speed functions on her new camera?
V&A Lates are on the last Friday of every month (except December) – the next one is on 29 October. The Natural History Museum is open until 9.30pm on the last Friday of every month with bands and a champagne bar – the first Wildlife Exhibition late is 29 October (anyone for a museum-based pub-crawl?). The British Museum is open late every Thursday and Friday until 8.30pm.