Scarlett, Elle Under Marilyn’s Spell

Elle Fanning for Interview – photo by Craig McDean

Actress Scarlett Johansson – who is sometimes compared to Marilyn – talks to another famous MM fan, 16 year-old Elle Fanning (now starring as Princess Aurora in Maleficent), about her idol in the May issue of Interview magazine.

“JOHANSSON: Growing up, my idol was Judy Garland. I loved her fragility, but also her strength. I know that you love Marilyn Monroe. Do you relate to Monroe as a performer? What is your Marilyn story?

FANNING: I was seven when I first saw a picture of her. I didn’t know that she was such a big icon. But I would just look at her and I was mesmerized. She was beautiful and so … truthful. She’s not faking it. If she’s having a terrible day when the picture was taken, she’ll show that she’s really depressed and having a terrible day. You can see it in her eyes. There are all the layers behind it. She not like, “Oh, let me just put on a smile.” That year my dad got the DVD of The Seven Year Itch [1955]. I was probably way too young to watch it. I didn’t even know what the story was about, but I was just looking at her the whole time and the way she talked was so light. That year I was Monroe in the white dress for Halloween. It was interesting to me that she did mostly comedies but her life was so tragic.

JOHANSSON: Sounds like you were attracted to her, if not attracted to her tragedy—you could see there’s such a soul to her.

FANNING: I felt like there was something deeper. It wasn’t glossy—there were bumps. There was more to her than just her blond hair.

JOHANSSON: Have you seen The Misfits [1961]?

FANNING: No. I’ve seen most of them but I haven’t seen that one. I bought this Marilyn Monroe app on my phone, and I was reading all her quotes.

JOHANSSON: Wow. I think there’s something really interesting about a really young girl—seven at the time—noticing the depth to Marilyn, because so many people only respond to the surface glamour or movie star glitz of her.”

When Marge Met Marilyn

Everyone’s favourite cartoon mom, Marge Simpson, has a Marilyn moment in this illustration by artist AleXsandro Palombo for Vogue, in a series of classic fashion recreations celebrating 25 years of The Simpsons:

“‘There is a Marge Simpson in every woman and with this tribute I wanted to ignite the magic that is in every women; the strength, femininity, elegance, eroticism and beauty,’ Palombo told us. ‘I made a strict and careful selection of what, in my opinion, has really influenced the style of the last 100 years. Each of these dresses really changed the course of the history of costume, giving a new aesthetic vision that has anticipated major changes in our society. We may not consider these clothes as art, but the aesthetic vision that they emanate has played an important role in giving strength to the path of emancipation of women since 1900. In many cases it’s the dress that has transformed a woman into an icon, but in many others, it’s the personality of the women that has enlightened the dress.'”

UPDATE: Here’s another famous MM pose, based on Ed Feingersh’s 1955 photo of Marilyn dabbing on her favourite perfume, Chanel No. 5…

Travilla Auction at Julien’s

Items from the estate of William Travilla, including costumes designed by Marilyn, will be sold by Julien’s Auctions on October 11th, with prior exhibitions at the auction house in Beverly Hills, and the Newbridge Silverware Museum of Style Icons in County Kildare, Ireland, reports Broadway World.

“Some of the Marilyn Monroe highlights of the ‘Property from the Estate of William Travilla’ auction include a Monroe/Andy Warhol Blue Tribute Dress which was created for an Andy Warhol memorial service at the Beverly Hilton and mimics the famous Seven Year Itch dress (Estimate: $4,000-$6,000), a Marilyn Monroe Gentlemen Prefer Blondes inspired gown by Travilla featuring the gold lame sunburst halter gown design (Estimate: $10,000 – $20,000), Travilla’s There’s NoBusiness Like Show Business Academy Award plaque ($3,000-$5,000), a 1953 Travilla Gentlemen PreferBlondes costume sketch (Estimate: $6,000-$8,000), and a Marilyn Monroe Seven Year Itch inspired Travilla gown (Estimate: $20,000-$30,000) along with several other pieces.

Prior to the auction the collection will also exhibit exclusively at Newbridge Silverware’s Museum of Style Icons (MOSI) in Ireland as well as Julien’s Auctions Beverly Hills.”

EDIT: The auction will now take place on November 8th.

Marilyn: An Iconic American

Abby Hannah Kacee analyses in depth the most famous poses struck by Marilyn during filming of the ‘subway scene’ in The Seven Year Itch, photographed by Sam Shaw.

“Monroe is directly in the middle of the shot, looking at the lens head-on. She is smiling and looking seductively at the camera. Little else can be seen in the image other than Monroe. The viewer’s eye is drawn immediately to Monroe’s face and expression, then is meant to continue looking down to her feet. Her right hand is pushing down the front of her dress, as if she is trying to be modest, but with the wind from the subway beneath her, there is too much dress for her to counteract the wind.

The dress itself has also become iconic focus of the photograph.  The ivory, angelic, flowing dress was chosen purposefully for this movie and for Monroe. The dress easily catches in the wind and flies up, revealing Monroe’s long, beautiful legs. However, while she attempts to hold it down, the dress gives the viewer the sense that Marilyn has wings, like a butterfly or angel.”

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.”

‘Sew Iconic’: The Seven Year Stitch

Create your own Marilyn moment with Sew Iconic, a new book by Kate Gregory, published on June 12.

‘From Marilyn Monroe’s billowy white halter in “The Seven Year Itch” to Audrey Hepburn’s effortlessly chic black number in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” the silver screen’s stunning dresses have always left stylish women enchanted. But no matter how many trips they’ve taken to the mall or even to designer boutiques, it’s still always been nearly impossible to find those dream dresses. But now, with “Sew Iconic,” they can finally have the show-stopping outfits they’ve always wanted! This amazing guide includes sewing patterns, tips on materials, and clear instructions for making the dresses of Grace Kelly, Rita Hayworth, Kate Winslet, and many more iconic actresses. Beautiful photographs throughout show the full skirts and fun tops in all their glory and are paired with stories of the clothes, the designers, and the films — all timeless classics.’