DECODENCE on the SS Normandie | Exhibit at the South Street Seaport Museum

New York's South Street Seaport Museum is celebrating the incredible "DECODENCE" of the SS Normandie, once the world's grandest passenger ship (Ernest Hemingway, Marlene Dietrich, Salvador Dali, and a young Grace Kelly boarded for her maiden voyage in 1935) that met her fiery end in a NY port as she was being converted into a troop ship in 1942. For the next year, they'll have original works by the art deco artists who created the interiors of this "floating palace" on display, along with passenger photos, original furnishings, voyage logs uniforms and more.

The great Art Nouveau jewelry designer, Rene Lalique, created the famed walls of eglomis√© glass and elegant glass columns which filled the dining room and Grand Salon, as well as the ship's dining room service wear. He also crafted the small crystal bottles that housed the Jean Patou fragrance created specifically for Normandie’s passengers.

In 1931, Rene Lalique revolutionized cocktail jewelry with the creation of the Cabochon glass ring. As part of its celebration of Normandie, Lalique has created a limited edition Cabochon ring in three colors (Cap Ferrat, Sapphire, Rouge a l'or) with a special commemorative engraving. The rings will be available in the museum store.

South Street Seaport Museum | 12 Fulton Street, New York City | 212.748.8786

February 24, 2010 - January 2011

(This incredible video contains footage of the ship from 1938. The colors are utter perfection).


  1. Anonymous says:

    I absolutely love this post! How divine. I would love to go see this exhibit, go and try and snap some pics (although, they usually frown upon this.)

  2. Can't wait to see this. The Forbes galleries of Fifth Avenue have several glass panels designed by Jean Dupas for the Normandie, really beautiful.

  3. This clip is wonderful. I especially love all the long-ish pencil skirts worn by all the women.

  4. jones says:

    Life was so elegant--the shapes, images, the way people walked and spoke with one another. No iphone/ipod isolation. Thanks for showing how a segment of life used to be lived. Mary

  5. DM says:

    This looks right up my smoke stack! Can't wait to see it...

    I just can't understand why they are sharing the show with Jeremey Scott!

  6. Sam says:

    Check out Bowne & Company when you're in the neighborhood:

  7. Thank you for alerting your readers to this exhibition. I shall be sure to visit it. The film of life onboard the ship is a treasure! Oh, to have been a passenger on the Normandie...