50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death – August 5th

Seems like only 25 years ago doesn’t it?  If you notice more Marilyn Monroe related posts, photos and retrospective’s popping up, well the big 5-0 is the reason.   There are new “never before seen” photos of Monroe being brought to daylight everywhere.   Salvatore Ferragamo is having an exhibit in Florence, Italy of the clothes and shoes she wore. This exhibit is one where it presents Marilyn as fine art which in itself is a refreshing take.  There are countless Marilyn Monroe film festivals going on all over the world and look-alike contests with both men and women. Always interesting.  Publishing houses know this is a golden opportunity to sell actual REAL books.  (Can’t image a book on Marilyn on a Kindle.)  My favorite pictorial peek at the divine Miss M is this beauty –  Marilyn in Fashion: The Enduring Influence of Marilyn Monroe.

I think this is such a brilliant way to showcase Marilyn.  From the beautiful cover photo to the last page it shows Marilyn as a style trendsetter rather than  tragic movie star.  It celebrates her style, the designers who clothed her and the wonderful era of the 40’s and 50’s.  50’s fashion is well-known for the Dior “New Look”, full skirts, nipped in waists and so on.  Marilyn’s look was far more sexy and bold and you see it  in what she wore on camera as well as off.

It’s easy to overlook Marilyn as a style icon but wholly as a sex symbol, larger than life ‘Movie Star’.   Written by well-known fashion historian and expert Christopher Nickens along with George Zeno they lovingly showcase her lasting influence on fashion.  They give us a look into the early years through the end when her style had established itself as more sophisticated and sexy look.  All the big numbers are here; the dress from 7 Year Itch, the gowns from How to Marry a Millionaire to the Zowie! dress she wore for President Kennedy and so much more.  My favorite if I had to pick are the costumes from Niagara.  I love watching this movie just to see her wear those clothes.   What I like is the use of color and the noir camera work (Joseph MacDonald) especially in the bell tower scene.  The Lucite box handbag, the Chartreuse hanky, the white blouse.  It’s all perfect.  And, so was Marilyn in all her imperfect, glorious, Technicolor mess.  

Have you experienced any Marilyn Monroe retrospective’s or viewed any of her films?  What do you think of her as a fashion icon?  A term that is bandied about with much liberality in my opinion.  Please let me know your thoughts.

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