lunedì 26 maggio 2014

Girl with a (Princess Diana) Pearl Earring

My hometown, Bologna, in Italy, recently hosted a big art exhibition which showcased the great treasures of Dutch painting from the so-called "Golden Age", including priceless works by the likes of Rembrandt and Vermeer.

The centrepiece of the exhibition was the world-famous "Girl with a Pearl Earring", by Johannes Vermeer.

I 've always been attached to the novel of the same name by Tracy Chevalier, the first ever novel I read in the original English version, and the film that was later inspired by it, starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson, so I thought, what better chance to channel my inner "Girl" than by wearing my beloved Princess Diana pearl earrings?!

These were recently identified by Ayvee from Diana Jewels as the "Venus earrings", available from the Met Museum Store (worldwide shipping, and until midnight, 26 May, there's a Memorial Day promotion with 25% off everything). I first heard of these from a post on Tatiana's Delights blog and immediately decided I had to have them and ordered them straight away!
Inspired  by the earrings worn by the Roman goddess of love in Venus in Front of a Mirror, a famous painting by Dutch artist Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577– 1640). In the painting, Venus wears nothing but a bracelet and a pair of pearl teardrop earrings—one of the earrings is white, and the other, reflected in a mirror, is black (the Met Store did originally offer two versions of the earrings, one with white pearls, the other with black, although now only the white pearls remain available).

A detail of the painting via Rubylane.
Princess Diana wore hers quite often, both in black and white - here's a look at some of the occasions when she wore the white version:
At the Queen Mother's 90th birthday celebrations, 4 August 1990 (Getty Images).

At the funeral of her grandmother Lady Fermoy, 15 July 1993 (Princess Diana Fan blog).

On an official visit to Cameroon with Prince Charles, 22 March 1990 (Getty Images).

In July 1991 (via


I'm a big fan of pearls, and it's nice to think Princess Diana owned a pair of these very earrings!

giovedì 15 maggio 2014

"Grace of Monaco" Movie Review

"Grace of Monaco" opened the 67th edition of the Cannes Film Festival last night, on 14 May, and has been released in cinemas in Italy, where I live, today.

I happened to have a free afternoon, so I jumped at the chance and went to see it straight away!

The film, by French director Olivier Dahan, is a Franco-American production about the life of former Hollywood star Grace Kelly's crisis of marriage and identity, during a dispute between Monaco's Prince Rainier III and French President De Gaulle in 1962, starring Nicole Kidman in the title role and Tim Roth as Prince Rainier.

The film came under heavy criticism from Monaco's royal family, and specifically Princess Grace's children, who described it as "needlessly glamorised and historically inaccurate" (the Palace's press release can be read here).

It has been somewhat vilified in the press, too, with one reviewer describing it as a "breathtaking catastrophe", while another complained about the "thoroughly awful" script. So, it wasn't under the best auspices that I set out for the cinema earlier today, but I was nonetheless looking forward to it - after all, I'd quite liked Princess Diana's 2013 biopic "Diana", starring Naomi Watts, which garnered similarly unenthusiastic reviews.

I have to say, I quite liked the film! Of course, it's probably (OK, almost definitely...) not 100% historically accurate, but Nicole Kidman portrays a glamorous Princess Grace and the 1960s fashion is to-die-for - at least for me, as I've always been a fan of the Grace look: oversized sunglasses, neutral lipstick, silk scarf and (replica) Hermes bag (as epitomized in this gorgeous fashion illustration by emmakisstina on Etsy!). And the jewels! Having been up close and personal to Princess Grace's diamonds when I visited the Cartier exhibition in Paris earlier this year (my blog post on this topic can be read here), it was nice to see how accurate the replicas of some of her most famous pieces, such as her ruby and diamond tiara, or her iconic three-strand diamond necklace, were (of course they were, as the replicas worn by Nicole Kidman were made by Cartier, as well!).

The two photos below are my own and show the originals at the Cartier exhibition:

What about you? Are you planning a trip to the movies to see "Grace of Monaco"? I'll leave you with some more promotional shots to wet your appetite! :)

Want to learn more about Grace Kelly as a style icon? Look no further than the book "Grace Kelly Style" by Kristina H. Haugland, published by V&A Publishing as a companion to the Victoria & Albert Museum's "Grace Kelly: Image of a Movie Star" 2010 exhibition, available from Amazon.

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Finally, last but not least, don't forget to take part in my giveaway, over at Books, Birkins & Beauty on facebook, for your chance to win a copy of the book "1953: The Queen's Coronation", published in 2013 by Royal Collection Publications as a souvenir album on the 60th anniversary of the coronation (English text, hardcover). Full of photographs (both colour and black and white) that detail the preparations and the coronation itself, the gowns, the crowns and the pageantry, this is a great souvenir of royal history!

For your chance to win, simply head over to Books, Birkins & Beauty on facebook and follow the instructions in the post at the top of the page! Good luck to all!