Visit London Blog » grace kelly Enjoy the very best of London Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:31:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Grace Kelly’s London Mon, 12 May 2014 07:30:40 +0000 Blog post by Kate White

Grace Kelly and James Stewart in Rear Window. Courtesy of the BFI.

London has always been a magnet for the famous and fabulous, and Hollywood royalty Grace Kelly was no exception. As one of the world’s most stylish women, it’s no surprise that the actress-turned-princess loved the finer things the capital had to offer. To celebrate the upcoming release of new biopic Grace Of Monaco, starring Nicole Kidman, we’ve rounded up a few ways to experience London Grace Kelly-style, without having a movie star’s bank balance.

The Connaught

The Connaught
Grace always checked-in at plush Mayfair hotel The Connaught. You might balk at the cost of the penthouse suite, but in their charming cocktail bar you can indulge on a smaller scale. You’ll be in good hands because the bartenders there can knock you up a cocktail inspired by their famous former guest. These delectable drinks aren’t on the menu so only those in the know now request them. It’s a divine way to toast Princess Grace and end your night feeling as fancy as royalty.

Ray StitchLearn to make a Grace Kelly-style dress at Ray Stitch
You can’t think of Grace without picturing a wardrobe to die for. Ms Kelly has never gone out of fashion and Islington-based sewing school Ray Stitch is running a special course where you can make your own Grace dress. Their experienced teachers will guide you through a Vintage Vogue pattern and, after you’ve created your gorgeous gown, you can hit the Big Smoke knowing you look good enough for your close up. The class takes place over four Friday evening sessions, beginning 20 June.

Alfred Hitchcock

The Alfred Hitchcock London Locations Walk
She became a professional princess but who could forget Grace’s other day job on the silver screen? It was in front of Alfred Hitchcock’s camera that she really shone and the pair collaborated on three iconic movies – To Catch A Thief, Rear Window and Dial M For Murder. Take film historian Sandra Shevey’s fascinating walking tour to get the lowdown on the legendary director, his London locations and the story behind the Hitchcock blonde. The walk runs three times a week and lasts for three hours, plenty of time to grill Sandra, who met and interviewed Hitchcock in 1972, about Alfred and his obsession with Grace.

Cafe de Paris

Café de Paris
Her own style was classic and elegant so it’s no wonder that Grace’s favourite restaurant in London was Café de Paris. Built in 1924 and located in the heart of the West End, the sparkling cabaret club is still bewitching guests to this day. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a delicious meal and to take in one of their legendary stage shows, all the while turning heads as you swish around in your bespoke Grace gown.

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Glamour of the Gods at National Portrait Gallery Thu, 07 Jul 2011 16:28:42 +0000 I’ve been eagerly waiting for Glamour of the Gods to open at the National Portrait Gallery since I first heard about it. I went along for a preview and was not disappointed.

This exquisite collection of over 70 portraits celebrates the golden Hollywood era and the Hollywood stars that captivated the world between the 1920s and the 1960s and beyond.  

They were part of the infamous star system that large film studios like MGM had in place and their images were strictly controlled by these studios. 

Image was of the upmost importance and the portraits convey the fascination and god-like appeal of these stars.  It is perhaps because of these images that they became such celebrated stars. 

There are  many included such as Clark Gable, Marlene Dietrich, James Dean and Audrey Hepburn to name just a few. The collection is immense and fabulous.

I especially loved the portraits of Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly and James Stewart, having never seen them before.  It’s amazing to think that there are still unseen images of these icons and the beautiful vintage prints will surprise many.

It is a truly incredible collection which shows the importance of the photographer in the making of these stars resulting in images which forever capture the elegance and glamour of its day.

Glamour of the Gods at the National Portrait Gallery, until 23 Oct 2011. Book tickets

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Our Best Bits: The VL Team’s Highlights of 2010 Fri, 31 Dec 2010 15:00:34 +0000 What a year it’s been! Here we share our highlights of 2010 in London:

Two West End shows that really stood out for me this year were Jerusalem and All My Sons, both at the Apollo Theatre. There were moments of pure theatrical magic in both that’ll stay with me for a long time. I feel privileged to have seen such talented actors as Mark Rylance, Zoe Wanamaker and David Suchet live on the London stage. I feel similarly lucky to have seen both Henry IVs at the Globe, back-to-back. Yes, I had a sore bum, but for me, it was another unmissable production. For musicals, Legally Blonde was the best of 2010. But the highlight of my year was the day I went on stage in the West End as an extra in An Inspector Calls. I certainly won’t forget that in a long time!

The fabulous Grace Kelly exhibition at the V&A was a real treat and a definite highlight for me in 2010 as it celebrated the life and style of an actress, princess and icon through her film costumes and royal outfits.  I also enjoyed the gorgeous Sex & The City Afternoon Tea at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill as the stiletto shaped chocolates and flirtinis were delicious and so cute.  Finally, learning yoga at triyoga in Soho has been a wonderful challenge and extremely rewarding this year.

Circus-themed events have been big this year. I think my favourite was Psy by The 7 Fingers at Peacock Theatre. It combined amazing acrobatics with energetic music and choreography to create a modern, exciting feel. It made me want to run away and join the circus!

London seems to get more exciting and adventurous every year. I will remember the wonderfully diverse musical experiences I was lucky enough to have: Carmen at The Royal Opera House, remembering Michael Jackson at Thriller Live and the talented Jetson at The 100 Club – an epic music venue that sadly may be closing. I look forward to what 2011 has to offer!

I had fabulous fancy dress nights out at White Mischief, The Chap Olympiad and SS Atlantica.  I was also a big fan of the colourful Elephant Parade over the summer. My most recent highlight was ice-skating at Hampton Court Palace – magical!

2010 has been an excellent year for stylish textile exhibitions. The Very Sanderson and the Horrockses Fashions exhibitions at the Fashion and Textile Museum were both highlights. The winner was, of course, the magnificent Quilts 1700 – 2010 exhibition at the V&A which contained so many tiny scraps of fabric, all crafted into beautiful quilts. I spotted top quilter and textile designer Kaffe Fasset looking round the exhibition during my visit, which added to the fun!

Being lucky enough to watch the World Cup from the top of BT Tower, although I have to say although it was good game the views were more inspiring.  Watching a dance performance as part of Electric Hotel in the middle of Kings Cross and touring top London restaurants as part of the Gourmet Odyssey at the London Restaurant Festival.

I thoroughly enjoyed Design for Living at the Old Vic – it was my first time at the theatre and seeing a Noel Coward play and I will seek out both again. My favourite gig was Alice Cooper at the Roundhouse – what a showman! I saw the The 39 Steps twice, which speaks for itself, and I attended three different outdoor cinemas in London – I’m hoping this trend continues in 2011. Finally, my favourite history lesson and a bit of a hidden gem is the Brunel Museum & Thames Tunnel Tour in Rotherhithe.

What are your 2010 highlights?

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Win! Day 15: V&A Membership and a Grace Kelly Style Book Wed, 15 Dec 2010 10:00:55 +0000

How do you fancy winning a year’s membership to London’s Victoria & Albert Museum?

That’s the Christmas prize we’ve got up for grabs for one lucky winner today. Membership entitles you to all kinds of benefits, including:

  • Members’ previews
  • an amazing programme of special events
  • the V&A Magazine delivered direct to your door
  • special offers, discounts and more

And to whet your appetite, here’s a list of some of the fantastic shows taking place at the V&A next year:

In addition, you can also get a copy of Grace Kelly Style: Fashion for a Hollywood Princess, the beautiful book that accompanied the V&A’s sell-out Grace Kelly exhibition earlier this year.

Enter today’s competition to win a year’s V&A membership plus a copy of Grace Kelly Style here

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Visit London Blog Giveaway: Win BFI Cinema Tickets Mon, 21 Jun 2010 09:30:42 +0000

Right now, many of us are caught firmly in the grip of footie fever. But we do feel for those of you who don’t want to watch the World Cup in London.

With this in mind, our good friends at BFI Southbank are hosting an Alternative To The World Cup film season.

What better way to escape the World Cup madness than by settling down in a darkened cinema to watch one of the classics such as:

  • All of Grace Kelly’s films including Hitchcock’s Rear Window
  • A Fistful of Dollars starring Clint Eastwood
  • Kubrick classic A Clockwork Orange
  • Eco thriller Soylent Green with Charlton Heston
  • Tilda Swinton’s latest I Am Love
  • Manga movie Ghost In the Shell 2: Innocence

Lucky for you, BFI is offering 10 pairs of tickets to any film during their June and July seasons to celebrate their alternative to the world cup campaign. And we want to know, what’s your World Cup alternative?

Leave a comment below and email with Visit London World Cup in the subject by Friday 25 June to win.

Read competition terms and conditions

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Grace Kelly: Style Icon at the Victoria and Albert Museum Tue, 27 Apr 2010 08:58:04 +0000 For an instant burst of glamour, nostalgia and style, look no further than the fabulous new Grace Kelly: Style Icon exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).

The sensational story of Grace Kelly has fascinated generations; from Hollywood starlet to Oscar-winning actress to the Princess of Monaco. And her iconic status was enhanced by her innate style. 

The result is the most wonderful collection of outfits worn by Grace Kelly on screen and in her real-life role as a princess.

Despite making 11 movies between 1951 and 1956, Grace Kelly’s film career was brief: she retired at the age of 26 to marry Prince Rainier. In that short time, she worked with the world’s leading men, from Cary Grant to Frank Sinatra, and starred in three Hitchcock movies, confirming her status as a Hollywood star. 

Her outfits from this era portray the style of the 50s; flowing dresses and skirts, pastel palettes and American classics. She worked with famed costume designers, Edith Head and Helen Rose and their collaborations including costumes for High Society and Rear Window are featured in the exhibition along with Grace’s Oscar for Best Actress (for High Noon).

When Grace Kelly became the Princess of Monaco, her wardrobe moved to French couture, including Chanel, Balenciaga and Hermes to reflect the Princess’s new role.  Indeed, the Hermès Kelly bag was named after Grace as she used it to hide her pregnancies from the press and the original Kelly bag is featured at the exhibition.

The most mesmerising element of the collection are the outfits worn at key moments in Grace Kelly’s life:

  • the floral dress she wore when she first met Prince Rainier
  • the navy coat she wore as she arrived in Monaco to begin her life as a princess
  • the lace suit worn at the civil marriage ceremony
  • her green two piece suit worn when she met JFK 

Each is accompanied with a photo of the occasion.  This is a truly enchanting collection and one not to be missed as the V&A celebrates a true style icon.

Grace Kelly: Style Icon until 26 September 2010. Book tickets

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