Dressing Marilyn: Her Gold Dress

Dressing Marilyn, a new book about Travilla by Andrew Hansford, is published this week. It is also featured in Stella magazine, in today’s Telegraph. Here is an extract, all about Marilyn’s diaphanous gold dress…

“Created out of a single circle of fabric, this gold lamé garment in sun-ray pleats (a Travilla trademark – ‘When I die, don’t have me cremated, have me pleated,’ he once said) has two thin, flexible iron bars in a V-shape starting at the waist and travelling up the bust, moulding the dress to the body. Monroe was sewn into it for her performance. When she later asked to wear it to the 1953 Photoplay Awards, Travilla refused. ‘It was fine for the movie, but for real life it was way too sexy and flashy. Also… it didn’t even have a zipper,’ he said. Monroe, a girl who didn’t hear the word no, went over his head to Darryl Zanuck, the head of Fox, and the dress was released. Again she was sewn into it, but promised Travilla she would wear her hair simply and walk like a lady. Whether she did or not, Joan Crawford was quoted as saying Monroe looked ‘vulgar’ . But she was front-page news the next day – and ever after.”

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