Marilyn’s (and Jane’s) Little Red Numbers

These identical sequined gowns are named among 20 of Pop Culture’s Most Show-Stopping Red Dresses by Mary Sollosi in Entertainment Weekly. Other classic Hollywood notables include Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind, Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis, and Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face.

“The bubblegum pink William Travilla sheath worn by Marilyn Monroe during her iconic performance of ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ might be Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ most celebrated look, but we’d be remiss to overlook these ruby-red showgirl dresses worn by Monroe and Jane Russell to open Howard Hawks’ subversive musical comedy. Glittering in the slit-to-there gowns, the duo delivers an efficient statement of purpose with the number ‘Two Little Girls from Little Rock,’ which clearly establishes the gold-digging M.O. that makes ‘Diamonds’ sparkle so brilliantly at the film’s climax.”

Marilyn also favoured red for a grand entrance offscreen, such as these Oleg Cassini gowns and a Dorothy Jeakins prototype for the pink dress in Niagara.

In later years, Marilyn preferred a more casual style, but kept up the sex appeal in photo sessions with Nahum Baron and Milton Greene. And for a party in her honour at Romanoff’s, she borrowed the strapless gown worn by co-star Mitzi Gaynor in There’s No Business Like Show Business.

And finally, this gown – worn by Marilyn to the London premiere of husband Arthur Miller’s play, A View From the Bridge, in 1956 – is also red, although no colour photos from that night have yet emerged.