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Style Focus – Marilyn’s Fashion Hits

February 18, 2010

Marilyn Monroe, our bombshell of the week, may have been better known for what she poured into her dresses rather than the clothes themselves – but a browse through her movie wardrobe reveals some awesome outfits and some fabulous frocks.

We all love the iconic shocking pink strapless gown she wore to perform Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, but it wasn’t the only memorable pink evening dress she wore in 1953. There was also this sumptuous dark pink frock (above and below) from How To Marry A Millionaire.

The clothes in How To Marry A Millionaire, which also starred Lauren Bacall and Betty Grable, earned costume designer Travilla (William Jack Travilla, 1920-1990) an Oscar nomination. And he notched up another nomination the following year, for his work on another Marilyn-starring movie There’s No Business Like Show Business.

Travilla didn’t just design gorgeous evening wear for Marilyn; he also provided her with some memorable day wear, notably in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) in which she arrives for her transatlantic trip wearing this leopard print cape and black dress.

Of course, Marilyn’s most famous onscreen day dress is the white halterneck which she wears as she cools herself over the subway grate in The Seven Year Itch (1955). It’s not Travilla’s only triumph in that film, though. Check out this cute crossover number.

In her final films, Marilyn’s voluptuous figure was shown off more than ever before – sometimes to ridiculous and/or near-obscene effect. Her breasts were the only aspects of the 1920s-set comedy Some Like It Hot (1959) that weren’t authentic (Jazz Age flappers were famously flat-chested) and her clingy evening dress in Let’s Make Love (1960) was one of her least-flattering looks – though she did look terribly chic dressed in black.

The legendary Jean Louis was the costume designer on Something’s Gotta Give (1962), the film Marilyn was making when she died. The clips and photos that survive suggest that it would have been a return to style form..

… and to a more streamlined figure than had been seen in the late 1950s when she was pregnant/trying to get pregnant with her then-husband Arthur Miller.

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