Thursday, 7 January 2010

I believe in fairies (and Grace Kelly)

When I was browsing through the V&A's upcoming exhibitions, wondering what to do and see this year, I was stopped in my track by this beautiful illustration. Not only was it entitled 'The Pink Fairies', but it brought back memories from my childhood.

When I was younger I believed passionately in fairies. The exhibition is of the illustrations of Cicely Mary Barker, creator of The Flower Fairies. As a young girl I had every Flower Fairy book imaginable, and in my mind fairies were the milky skinned, tiny and fragile winged things of Cicely Mary Barker's illustrations. Not only did her illustrations give my imagination something to dream about, but the books themselves told me fabulous stories about the fairies that I came to believe lived at the bottom of my garden. According to the books they ate berries and drank dew drops from cups of flower petals, whilst dancing beneath the trees. At daytime they hid in brambles, and however hard I may have looked, I knew I would never find them; they hid too well.

So was my childhood, a head full of enchantment and flower fairies. When I look at the fairy illustrations now I feel an affection that overwhelms me. The display is small, and is running at the moment until the 14th of June. No doubt I shall be taking a visit this year to visit my old friends the flower fairies.
Whilst searching through the V&A website I found another exhibition that I will be looking forward to attending this year. 'Grace Kelly: Style Icon' will be running from the 17th of April until the 26th of September. Style Icon is definitely the right expression. The exhibition itself is evidence of this; 35 haute couture gowns, dresses worn to accept oscars, hats, bags jewellery... the clothes that followed her stylish life. Not to mention the original Hermes Kelly bags that will be shown in the exhibition. To have a Hermes bag named after you is the highest of fashion praise, and the fact that the Kelly bag is still so synonymous with style and so coveted is testimant to the allure of Grace Kelly. I can't wait for the exhibition.


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