Cinema Style File: ‘The Seven Year Itch’

The Seven Year Itch is a perfect summer movie, perhaps best-known for the iconic scene in which Marilyn stands above a subway grating, her white halter dress (designed by Travilla) blowing in the air.

However, it’s easy to forget the other designs worn by Marilyn in the movie, which are still influencing fashion today. GlamAmor takes a look at the ultra-modern style and colourful aesthetic of The Seven Year Itch.

“Seven Year Itch is a Style Essential from the very beginning…the opening credits are done by the great Saul Bass.  Saul did the graphic design and iconic opening title sequences for many of Hollywood’s greatest directors, including Otto Preminger and Stanley Kubrick.  He also changed graphic design by evolving from static credits to kinetic ones such as those he created for Alfred Hitchcock in Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959), and Psycho (1960).  Martin Scorcese grew up admiring Saul’s work so much that he asked him (and wife Elaine) to create the most innovative of Scorcese’s opening credits, from Good Fellas (1990) to Casino (1995).  Sadly, Seven Year Itch is the only time that Bass worked with director Billy Wilder.

I frequently discuss the importance of costume design and style to the longevity of classic film and The Seven Year Itch is a prime example.  It is not the screenplay or directing that keep people watching this film; even screenwriter-director Billy Wilder was not a fan of the final script since it had to be altered so significantly from George Axelrod’s original play to suit the censors.  The appeal of The Seven Year Itch is not entirely about Marilyn either since there are other movies of hers that are not as memorable.  Instead, it is the iconic costume design–custom made for her and her character–and overall style of the film that attracts audiences and prompts them to watch it again and again.  I speak from experience.”

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