8 March 2013
“Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don't, then who will, sweetie? So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life's a beautiful thing and there's so much to smile about.”
Although she famously sang Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend, Marilyn didn't very own much pricey jewellery. At the 1999 Christie's sale, the only diamonds of note were those in a 35-baguette eternity ring given to her by Joe DiMaggio; he additionally bought her a 16-inch strand of Akoya pearls, which she gave to Paula Strasberg. The rest of her jewels were costume pieces.
She became that rarefied fleshpot from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in the stylish if breathless hot-pink gown when she wanted to shine at celebrations or for the press.
Away from the spotlight, she tended to pull back the platinum hair or obscure it beneath a headscarf, pairing jeans with short, fitted coats - the Monroe of The Misfits. Various other times, she moved to ladylike suits and gauzy white blouses; to the remarkable, deceptively easy outfits of Oleg Cassini and later on, in the looser sixties, to the swingy Jax and Pucci changes that accentuated her longer, bell-shaped coif.
From the pink satin "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" gown, to the pleated white dress from The Seven Year Itch to the revealing nude sheath worn to sing "Happy Birthday" to JFK, Marilyn created countless memorable looks.
Before they were home names, she wore Ferragamo pumps, carried Gucci bags and used the designs of Oleg Cassini, Norman Norell, Emilio Pucci and Jean Louis. In an era of Peter Pan collars, poodle skirts, and repressed sexuality, Marilyn's hot style and ability to identify designers made her a fashion visionary.
Marilyn in Fashion traces the evolution of her design, from balanced sweetness early in her job, to sex kitten searches in the '50s, to elegant sophistication in the end of her life. The designers of her sets, where she used them, and their influence on fashion. Behind-the-scenes stories disclose how the star frequently worked closely with designers to create looks befitting the Marilyn Monroe image.
Marilyn's beaded Jean Louis gown, worn when she sang Happy Birthday to President Kennedy, was sold in 1999 for $ 820,000. At the time it was the record cost for a solitary item of clothes, till Marilyn's billowing white Seven Year Itch dress was put up for sale by Debbie Reynolds in 2011, where it made $ 2.8 million.
She improvised, having a cobbler shave down one of her heels to offer her walk a more obvious wiggle, or getting a fashion tip from burlesque - an unmatched move at the time - and donning a G-string under a see-through dress long before thongs entered the public domain.
Monroe was buried in a Pucci dress of lime-green jersey, which was chosen after her death by her housekeeper, who thought it to be her favorite. Marilyn Monroe is among the great pop cultural icons of the 20th century. Marilyn the bombshell is a character: singing Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend in that sweetie-wrapper pink sheath dress, or with that lightweight pleated white dress flying up around her thighs in The Seven Year Itch. It is this Marilyn who is referenced all over until today.
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