Dior Recreates Marilyn’s Black Dress

My Week With Marilyn was screened last night at New York’s Milk Gallery, where the ‘Picturing Marilyn’ exhibit is on display this weekend. Celebrities like supermodel Christie Brinkley attended, along with members of the movie’s cast and crew: producer Harvey Weinstein, director Simon Curtis, and actor Dominic Cooper, who plays Milton Greene.

The evening was hosted by Dior, who recreated the black dress that Marilyn wore in one of her last photo sessions, with Bert Stern, for Vogue in 1962. The dress was modelled by Dree Hemingway (daughter of Mariel, and great-grand-daughter of Ernest Hemingway.)

Nearly 80 photos from the event are posted at StyleList, where Brinkley shared her love for Marilyn:

‘The blonde stunner’s hair was styled in Monroe-esque waves, “Somebody said I was channeling Marilyn Monroe tonight and I was extremely flattered,” she confessed. How would she try to get the full look? “Well I think a key element is, first of all, the hair. The second anyone bleaches their hair really blond like that, it’s that Marilyn platinum. And then of course, the eyebrows. The lips. And then there’s just a certain openness and vulnerability that she exudes.” Brinkley continued, “I think Marilyn Monroe had the type of personality that if she gained 20 pounds, she’d still be Marilyn Monroe. A few pounds here or there. So if somebody asked me if I thought she could make it in today’s modeling world, I would say absolutely because she possesses that ‘x’-factor.” And Brinkley should know! The 57-year-old Hamptons resident has been modeling for decades. “I hope that I have that kind of connection with the camera, but Marilyn was just different. The thing about Marilyn is that she’s lasted forever, and I think she is forever.” ‘

A selection of photos from the exhibit are posted at NY Mag.

‘Picturing Marilyn’ in New York

Marilyn by Andre De Dienes, 1946

‘Picturing Marilyn’, an exhibition featuring 62 photos by Andre de Dienes, Richard C. Miller, Bruno Bernard, Philippe Halsman, Sam Shaw, Milton Greene and Bert Stern, will be on display (and up for sale) at New York’s Milk Gallery for two days only (November 10-12.)

The exhibition is featured in fashion bible Women’s Wear Daily. Curator Etheleen Staley comments, “The key to it is that she has been so photographed, and was so photogenic that, in a way, people are drawn to her image even more than her movies.”

Other highlights include a replica of the black dress Marilyn wore for Bert Stern in 1962 (remade by Christian Dior), and a screening of My Week With Marilyn.

Bel Air Hotel Re-Opens

The Bel Air Hotel has re-opened after a $100 million facelift, reports the Financial Times. However, not everyone welcomes the news – particularly the 300 former workers who were made redundant when the hotel closed in 2009.

Marilyn’s long association with the Bel Air Hotel is reflected in the name of a new cocktail: Monroe’s Passion. She first lived there in 1948, while under contract to Columbia. She returned in 1952, while filming Don’t Bother to Knock; and spent her 26th birthday there, drinking champagne to celebrate landing the role of Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Monroe stayed at the Bel Air Hotel in 1958, while filming scenes for Some Like it Hot. She was photographed at the hotel by Andre de Dienes in 1953, and by Bert Stern June 1962, her last visit.

Liz Smith on Mailer’s ‘Marilyn’

Liz Smith reviewed the new, deluxe Mailer/Stern book, published by Taschen, in her column this week:

“Monroe’s admirers hope this latest batch of Bert Stern photos do her justice. Many of the 3,000-plus shots he took are iconic works of art, and deserve to be properly re-printed. Most who saw Marilyn in those final months said she had never looked so lovely — thin, fragile, but ravishing…It will be good, also, to have Norman’s words out there again, causing blood to boil.”

Taschen Publishes Stern, Mailer’s ‘Marilyn’

A new, limited edition book featuring photographs by Bert Stern and text by the late Norman Mailer will be published by Taschen in August. It is 278 pp long; 36.5 x 44 cm; hardcover, boxed with print. All 1712 copies are signed by Stern himself, and the price – wait for it – is a jaw-dropping £450.00.

A limited number of copies are now available here

Allure: Jackie Kennedy, Diana Vreeland and Marilyn

Diana Vreeland, the formidable editor of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, included this photo of Marilyn (taken by Cecil Beaton in 1956) in her 1980 book, Allure.

Vreeland worked with Jackie Kennedy on the project, as William Kuhn recounts in Reading Jackie, a new study of the one-time First Lady’s career in publishing.

“Marilyn Monroe had a brief affair with JFK, and by 1980, when Vreeland’s Allure was published at Jackie’s behest by Doubleday, this was well-known…Monroe had committed suicide during the very week that Vreeland was taking over the editorial position at Vogue. She began work just as the outgoing editor was putting together the finishing touches on an issue which, by chance, included an article with a tribute to Monroe and several photographs. Vreeland’s colleague wanted one of the photos taken out. It was too ‘triste’ in light of what Monroe had just done. Vreeland replied, ‘You can’t leave that out! You cannot! It’s got all the poignancy and the poetry and the pathos of the woman in it!’ That was in 1962. In the late 1970s, Vreeland explained what she loved about this photo … ‘Marilyn Monroe! She was a geisha. She was born to give pleasure, spent her life giving it – and knew no other way’…What did Jackie say to Vreeland about the Monroe photograph? Probably nothing, but the fact that she silently allowed Vreeland to include it shows Jackie content to acknowledge Monroe’s ur– sexiness, a quality that Jackie did not think she shared with the screen icon.

It seems as if Jackie was able to separate her editorial self from the woman whose husband had a public fling with Monroe. She was thrilled, about the same time she was working with Vreeland on Allure, when a proposal came from Doubleday that promised pictures from Bert Stern‘s last photographic session with the actress. ‘Marilyn Monroe!!!’ Jackie wrote in a memo to her colleague Ray Roberts. ‘Are you excited?’ … Vreeland’s treatment of Monroe was probably like this for Jackie too: a publishing opportunity rather than a moment to reflect on a personal injury. In any case, if injury there had been, she was able to rise above it.”

Later in the book, Kuhn reports an interview with biographer David Stenn, who wrote about two Hollywood sex symbols pre-dating MM – Clara Bow and Jean Harlow – with Jackie’s support:

“Stenn also recalled a conversation he had with Jackie about Marilyn Monroe, a topic that he had avoided touching upon. That’s why he was surprised when she brought it up. Jackie didn’t mention Monroe in the context of JFK but rather as part of a continuum with Jean Harlow: both of them were blondes who made their sexual appeal the center of their screen personalities. As with Vreeland, Jackie was willing to discuss Monroe with Stenn in a completely dispassionate, even admiring way.”

Meeting Bert Stern in Toronto

Over at The Mmm Blog, Melinda Mason recounts her meeting with photographer Bert Stern – now 82 – at his ‘Jewels’ exhibition in Toronto’s Izzy Gallery.

“Marilyn fans the world over have fawned over Stern’s photographs that he took in July 1962 shortly before her death.  Regardless of your view on whether he should have published photos that Marilyn herself had X’d out there is no denying his photographs are truly legendary.  I am personally a big fan of this time period and Marilyn style and The Complete Last Sitting is one of my favourite books.”

Gallery owner Izzy Sulemanji was interviewed in Canada’s National Post:

“‘This is the top of the mountain to get Bert,’ Sulejmani says. ‘The biggest thing is that he’s coming, because if it’s not New York or a big museum, he doesn’t go for his openings.’

Now in his eighties, Stern rarely accepts interviews and makes few public appearances. But there was something about the friendly gallery owner that he liked. Sulejmani says that after remaining largely silent during a New York City business lunch two months ago, the photographer said at the very end, ‘You’re OK, Izzy. I like you. I’ll see you in Toronto.’ After signing the contract, Stern left.”