Marilyn in Fashion: The Enduring Influence of Marilyn Monroe
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Fifty years after her death, Marilyn remains an incandescent movie star, legendary sex symbol, and a woman whose private life fascinates the public—but the story never before showcased is Marilyn Monroe’s enduring impact on fashion.
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 endless unforgettable looks. Before they were household names, she wore Ferragamo pumps, carried Gucci bags and wore 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 sexy style and ability to spot up-and-coming designers made her a fashion visionary.
Marilyn in Fashion traces the evolution of her style, from wholesome sweetness early in her career, to sex kitten looks in the ‘50s, to elegant sophistication in the last years of her life. The text details the designers of her ensembles, where she wore them, and their influence on fashion. Behind-the-scenes stories reveal how the star often worked closely with designers to create looks befitting the Marilyn Monroe image. Illustrated with hundreds of rare and never-before-published photos, Marilyn in Fashion fabulously traces the style evolution of the ultimate Hollywood icon.
of Design in 1948 and immediately got work designing for Elizabeth Arden and Mattie Talmack. It was at Talmack’s that he met Norman Norell, who became a mentor. In 1953 Moore and Talmack both earned special Coty Awards for “noteworthy contributions to fashion.” It was through Norell that Moore met Marilyn in 1955. Close in age, the two became instant friends. Monroe appreciated Moore’s taste so much she let him have a strong hand in decorating the 57th Street apartment she shared with Arthur
New York staged their auction of Monroe effects in 1999, they put up this display of her Pucci wardrobe, including (on the far right) the blouse she wears in the prior photograph. Wardrobe Illustration by George Zeno There is speculation (most likely false) that at some point Pucci and Monroe struck a mutually beneficial agreement: She would wear his designs in public, and in exchange he would supply her with clothes gratis or at a sizeable discount. Such deals are, of course, commonplace
movie work in her immediate future, Marilyn kept her face and figure before the public by accepting any publicity opportunity that came along. Here on May 18, she poses on a miniature loveseat at the annual Pacific Antiques Show at the Pan Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles. The exuberant Monroe smile that would become world famous is in full force as she fills out a pair of khaki-colored gabardine shorts and an off-white angora pullover. A year later, she poses in a sporty turtleneck for a
bare midriff, “Navel Operations.” Cassini’s greatest fame came in 1961 when Jacqueline Kennedy—a friend of longstanding—appointed him official couturier for her reign as First Lady. Defined by unfussy lines, high crew necklines, suits that were stripped down versions of Chanel and pillbox hats, the “Jackie Look,” as dictated by Cassini in over three hundred outfits, became the most influential fashion profile of the era. MARILYN BY CASSINI In January 1952, Marilyn starred in her first
including the jacket, was sold at Christie’s Monroe auction in 1999. Recently, costume and fabric expert Wayne Murray acquired the version she wears in these photos, and he found the interior of it to be quite revealing. He discovered two small “falsies” sewn in just below the neckline. Marilyn, of course, had beautiful breasts but they sloped down and out a bit. This gave them a perky profile, but they weren’t as fully rounded on top as she liked for certain styles, so she relied on this slight