Why Marilyn’s Back in Fashion

Writing in the Financial Times, Carola Long has investigated why Marilyn’s unique style is so popular right now…

‘ “People aren’t trying to be shocking, now they are trying to be elegant,” explains Elizabeth Saltzman of  Vanity Fair. “I dress a lot of women and more and more they don’t want to wear … nothing.”

There’s an irony here: while Monroe’s capri trousers, polo necks or pencil skirts might be demure by today’s standards, in the 1950s many of her red carpet and film costumes were deemed highly risqué.

“Her longevity depends on the duality of her image: child-woman and sex goddess, dumb blonde and aspiring intellectual, adored star and exploited victim,” says the feminist critic Elaine Showalter. “Monroe’s look itself emphasised strong contrast, with pale skin, white-blond hair and bright red lips. That combination spells glamour.” Even mixed-up, pastiched and homaged by everyone from Madonna to Lady Gaga, it still does.’

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