Marilyn Monroewore ashocking pinkdress in the 1953 filmThe dress was created by costume designerWilliam Billy Travillaand was used in one of the most famous scenes of the film, which subsequently became the subject of numerous imitations, significantly fromMadonnain the music video for her songMaterial Girl.
When the costume designer William Travilla, known simply as Travilla, began working with Marilyn Monroe, he had already won an Oscar for his work inAdventures of Don Juanin 1948. Travilla designed the clothes of the actress in eight films, and later claimed to have had a brief affair with Monroe.3In 1953 Travilla designed the costumes forGentlemen Prefer Blondes.Originally, Monroe was to wear a breathtaking show girl costume, costing close to $4,000 (1953 dollars).4
It had jewels sewn onto a black fish-net bodystocking up to the breasts, then covered in nude fabric, embellished with a mass of diamonds. It came out that Marilyn has posed nude for a calendar back in 19495, when Marilyn was desperate for money. And instead of riding on the revelation, Travilla was given strict instructions to cover Marilyn up and designed the pink dress as a last minute replacement.6
The pink dress was worn by Monroe in the role of the character of Lorelei Lee in the famous sequence in which the actress sings the songDiamonds Are a Girls Best Friend, the choreography accompanied by several suitors in dinner clothes.
The pink dress was auctioned atProfiles in Historyon 11 June 2010, with an estimated price of between $150,000 and $250,000 and described as the most important film costume to ever come to auction.7The dress ultimately sold for $310,000. However, according to a few Marilyn Monroe historians the dress sold at auction was not the original one worn by Marilyn Monroe during the musical number.
The dress was lined with black felt to remain rigid during the dance number. The dress sold at auction did not have the black felt on the inside. The dress sold at auction was likely one worn in rehearsals or publicity photos since it is lacking the black felt on the interior and was clearly not the one worn during the filming.
Travillas notes reveal that she wore two identical copies in that scene as it took a long time to shoot and the dress being floor length was very prone to getting dirt on it. Due to the fact there was no digital retouching back when the movie was filmed, Travilla had to get 2 dresses made so Monroe could change into the spare one when the one she wore showed dirt. The dress is incredibly heavy and really could not handle to much wearing.8
Another issue with the dress is the fact that the colour of the one sold at auction doesnt match the colour of the dress she wore on screen. In many other examples of proven authentic costumes, the costumes look very much the same today as the way they did when worn by Marilyn in her films. Most often the colors match, as do the materials and fabrics.
Lot 832: Marilyn Monroe pink satin gown from the Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend number in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. This pink satin gown was worn by Marilyn Monroe as the gold-digging Lorelei Lee in one of cinemas most memorable song and dance sequences as she performed Diamonds Are a Girls Best Friend. This Travilla-designed pink silk satin strapless gown features black satin lining on the oversized bow attached at back. Features integral brassier with rear zipper closure (concealed with bow overlay) and interior Fox cleaning tag. Also comes with the original pair of screen-worn opera-length tubes worn over Marilyns arms (gloves are shown for display only) and pink satin belt with M. Monroe A-698 1-27-3-7953 written on the inner leather lining. Originally designed to be a two-piece garment, this lot features an additional bonus having the original top made for this dress (featuring interior bias label handwritten 1-27-3-7971 M. Monroe A 698-74) that was not used in the production. This design was discarded due to the top and skirt separating when Marilyn raised her arms during the number. The gown exhibits slight toning in areas, common in silk garments from this era; otherwise in fine condition. The leather backing on the belt is cracked and missing in areas and silk exhibits fraying on edges. Marilyns public appearance dress worn at President John F. Kennedys birthday tribute sold at auction in 1999 for an astounding $1,267,500. This remains as the single most important screen-worn gown in film history to ever reach the auction block. Indeed, Marilyn Monroes Diamonds Are a Girls Best Friend performance has reached such an iconic status that several notorious entertainers have copied itright down to the pink strapless gown!9
William Travilla, quoted inDressing Marilynby Andrew Hansford, stated that Apart from the two side seams, the dress was folded into shape rather like cardboard. Any other girl would have looked like she was wearing cardboard, but on screen I swear you would have thought Marilyn had on a pale, thin piece of silk. Her body was so fabulous it still came through.10
Marilyn Monroe wore a white version of this dress (without the bow) to the premiere of her filmTheres No Business Like Show Business(1954). She was photographed extensively wearing this dress with a white fur stole and with a pair of matching opera gloves.
The satin dress, designed by William Travilla, is a strapless, floor-length shocking pink dress with straight neckline, with uncovered arms and broad shoulders and side slits.11The dress is decorated with a big bow stuffed with ostrich feathers and horsehair on the back and a belt, both in the same shade of her dress. To make the dress easier to perform in (and to appease the censorship board) Travilla, himself lined the garment with black felt which remained rigid during choreography. As Monroe dances the underlayer is revealed. Although it was a practical decision, it ties the costume into the black tuxedos worn by the male escorts and ensures that the dress stands out against the red backdrop.12
Monroe was originally going to wear a pair of black opera gloves with black Salvatore Ferragamo pumps but Travilla decided to change the colour of the gloves and shoes to match the gown.
The dress was complemented by a pair of long opera length gloves to match, many jewels and pair of satin stiletto-heeled shoes bySalvatore Ferragamo. The dress is peau dange satin and is a shade of pink often identified asshocking pink.
Over the years the pink dress has become an icon of fashion and film, and like herwhite dressis often imitated and parodied. One of the most famous of all is the one represented by the singer Madonna in the Material Girl video.13The singer later admitted to hating the dress as it was difficult to wear during the movement. In 1990, Ayesha Walker ( a Marilyn Monroe impersonator Who is now known as Lorelei Lei after the character in the film) walked down the aisle inHealing ChurchinChathamwearing a replica of the pink dress.14
In a segment entitledMaterial Girlin the 1997Playboy Video,Playboys Voluptuous Vixens, SaRenna Lee capitalized on her resemblance to Marilyn Monroe by appearing in a pink dress designed for her zaftig shape.
Mexican entertainersThaliaandAida Pierceeach wore similar shocking pink dresses. Thalia wore a replica of this dress while performing Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend in Spain in 1991, and Pierce wore a similar pink dress in a 2001 episode ofHumor es…los comediantesas a tribute to Monroe (2001 would have been Monroes 75th birthday).
In the computer gameThe Sims: Superstarexpansion pack published in 2003, the player can see the character of Marilyn Monroe, dressed in the same famous shocking pink dress. It was also produced as awith Barbie wearing Monroes pink dress.15
In the third episode of the second season of the American television seriesCrazy Ex-Girlfriend,Rachel Bloomas Rebecca Bunch wears a blue version of the dress while singing The Math of Love Triangles. Parodying Monroes performance of Diamonds Are A Girls Bestfriend16
Black Givenchy dress of Audrey Hepburn
Willam Travilla biography. Film Reference
Marilyn Monroes Gentlemen Prefer Blondes dress up for auction.
She was the easiest person I ever worked with. Loving Marilyn
The strange story of how Marilyn Monroe appeared nude in the first issue of Playboy.
Marilyn Monroes Pink Satin Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Dress to Be Auctioned. . 4 May 2010
Dressing Marilyn by Andrew Hansford, published by Goodman
Profiles in History Auction Catalogue
Dressing Marilyn by Andrew Hansford,南京梧桐客栈 published by Goodman
The genius and the goddess: Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe
. University of Illinois Press. p.45.ISBN978-0-252-03544-9
Marilyn Monroe Pink Gown from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Sells at Auction for $310,000.00, But Was It The One?. The Marilyn Monroe Collection. Archived from the original on 18 December 2013
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From Abba to Zoom: a pop culture encyclopedia of the late 20th century
. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p.305.ISBN978-0-7407-5118-9
. Weekly World News. 23 October 1990. p.6.ISSN0199-574X
. Krause Publications. p.181.ISBN978-0-89689-333-7
Villarreal, Yvonne.The midnight bath behind the making of Crazy Ex-Girlfriends big Marilyn Monroe parody.
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This page was last edited on 3 December 2018, at 16:14