Marilyn made the front page of yesterday’s Algemeen Dagblad (aka AD) in the Netherlands. Inside, Josine Droogendijk notes that while often provocatively dressed, Marilyn was never vulgar.
“Many of her dresses today are worth thousands, if not millions, and Monroe’s name still tops the list of style icons. In terms of fashion, the Hollywood star has certainly done something right. Yet she was not a lover at heart. While contemporary Audrey Hepburn became best friends with designer Givenchy and could spend hours in clothing workshops, Marilyn Monroe saw her appearance above all as the ideal instrument for success.
Together with costume maker William Travilla, she looked for designs full of glamor and drama, so that she would not be overlooked by her competitors on the red carpet and the silver screen. The evening dresses full of embroidery, feathers and lace also matched her image of an empty-headed fashion doll, but privately the actress preferred to wear a capris and a wool sweater to show how she really wanted to be seen: as a serious actress.
The most iconic piece in Monroe’s closet is undoubtedly the pristine white halter dress she wore during the filming of The Seven Year Itch . Looked at soberly, the design is not even that spectacular. Actress Roxanne Halteren also wore it in the comedy Bachelor Flat (1961) … Of course, why the garment has acquired such legendary status has everything to do with the way Monroe wore it. In one of the most famous movie scenes of the twentieth century, the actress stands above a subway ventilation grille, causing the wide skirt of her dress to blow up and dance along her shapely legs. 67 years ago, the moment was seen as the pinnacle of sensuality.
For the glamorous moments, she went out of her way to shine. Her evening dresses were often sleeveless and strapless and somehow always extremely sensual. Sometimes that effect was achieved by a high split, sometimes by a deep cleavage, but never all at once. The actress wanted to remain a ‘lady’. ‘Your clothes should be tight enough to show you’re a woman, but loose enough to show you’re a lady,’ she said.
Monroe also appreciated an accent on her waist. Her hourglass figure looked great in it and so did her curves … The only question that remains now is whether there is also an expiration date for Monroe’s fashion success. Due to her tragic death, the star will always be remembered as a style icon. But if you take a sober look at her outfits, you will also have to realize that the groundbreaking and sensual that characterized her style is now being drowned out by all kinds of extremes. Before the 1960s, her style was striking and groundbreaking, but in 2022 her dresses would hardly stand out in the wonderful world of Hollywood.”
The newspaper’s interview with tribute artist Claudia Van Etten is also posted here.
“Claudia has been playing the role of the American celebrity for fifteen years … ‘My life is like a movie,’ she says with a cup of coffee on the couch in the cozy living room of her striking worker’s cottage. ‘I have experienced such special things’ … What started as a joke at a friend’s birthday party, turned into a professional act … Marilyn’s dresses were meticulously copied by her mother for years … She also performs her act in nursing homes. ‘As Marilyn, I open a drawer in the minds of many residents. I bring people with Alzheimer’s back to their memories. As if they are waking up again from their own world. I am very happy about that. I earn a lot less with it, but for me it is priceless.'”
Thanks to Marco at Marilyn Remembered