Marilyn’s ‘Niagara’ and the Making of a Style Icon

Writing for fashion bible Women’s Wear Daily, Leigh Nordstrom and Alex Badia have named Marilyn among the most stylish movie icons of the 1950s and 60s, citing Dorothy Jeakins’ Niagara designs, also worn offscreen by Marilyn in 1952, for special praise.

“The sex symbol who revolutionized the Fifties and Sixties had a very well-crafted fashion style. This look from the movie Niagara is a clear example. The wavy, short bleach blonde hair, the hoop earrings, and form-fitting dress with generous cleavage were some of her signatures. What was great about her style was that if you wear it today, it’s still amazing — it’s timeless.”

Marilyn Inspires Max Mara’s Wrapover Trend

The Mexican beach jacket worn by Marilyn during her last photo session – with George Barris in July 1962 – is one of the inspirations behind Max Mara’s Fall 2015 collection, reports Women’s Wear Daily.

Among the wrapover sweaters and coats, I also noticed designs similar to the Jean Louis costumes worn by Marilyn for her role as ‘bohemian’ Amanda in Let’s Make Love (1960.)

Of course, today’s catwalk models can’t fill out a sweater quite like Marilyn did – and by the way, when did smiling go out of fashion?

Jenny Packham’s ‘Dear Marilyn’

British-born Jenny Packham – whose designs have been worn by the Duchess of Cambridge – unveiled a new, Marilyn-inspired collection at New York Fashion Week, reports The Hindu.

“Packham even wrote a ‘Dear Marilyn’ letter she included in her show notes –

‘I’ve read the book and listened to the recordings, visited your bungalow at the Beverly Hills and sat in your chair at the Max Factor building where you became a blonde, all the while challenging why you are still so relevant in this brave new world,’ it read in part. ‘For me, it’s that smile that makes you ever relevant and time enduring.’

Along with body-skimming gowns expertly embellished to glisten under lights, Packham used a playful baby pink for day looks. She went to hot pink for a slinky off-the-shoulder dress one can picture Monroe wearing with big black sunglasses.”

However, fashion bible Women’s Wear Daily was not so impressed:

“Jenny Packham’s show epitomized one of the biggest problems afflicting New York Fashion Week: the lack of editing in the collections showcased on the catwalk. The British designer offered an overabundance of evening numbers, which touched too many tones. These ranged from supersweet, like an organza ballgown embroidered all over with flowers in sorbet hues, to sexy, such as body-conscious nude silk styles decorated with sequins stitched in graphic patterns.

The lineup was somewhat updated, but even if this season Packham wanted to celebrate Marilyn Monroe, her collection missed that witty, charming spirit always associated with the American actress.”

AmfAR to Honour ‘Red’ Marilyn at Cannes

Design by Ralph Lauren

AmfAR, the charity founded by Mathilde Krim and Elizabeth Taylor, will dedicate this year’s Cinema Against AIDS gala at the Cannes Film Festival to Marilyn, reports Women’s Wear Daily. (Dr Krim was the wife of Arthur B. Krim, the entertainment lawyer who hosted a party at his home after the John F. Kennedy birthday gala in 1962. Marilyn brought Isidore Miller along. And while she never visited Cannes, MM was chosen as the festival’s poster girl back in 2012.)

Sketch for Bulgari necklace, designed for AmfAR gala

Exclusive designs by leading houses from Salvatore Ferragamo to Alexander McQueen will be unveiled. Among the celebrities involved are Sharon Stone, Harvey Weinstein and Milla Jovovich, and Lana Del Rey is set to perform a song or two.

Design by Valentino

“The amfAR benefit on May 22, widely considered the social highlight of the annual Cannes Film Festival in France, will stage a red-themed fashion show of gowns created for the occasion. After shining a spotlight on the colors black and gold in previous years, Carine Roitfeld, who is overseeing the runway show for the third time, said she wanted to dedicate the show to Monroe.

‘She searched for love all her life, and I think she would have been a big supporter of the foundation,’ she told WWD.”

For Girls Who Wear Glasses

Marilyn’s estate has teamed up with Allure Eyewear to create a new range of spectacles, reports Women’s Wear Daily. (The cherry pattern in the above model seems inspired by Marilyn’s rodeo dress from The Misfits, while the retro design recalls her near-sighted character, Pola, in How to Marry a Millionaire.)

“Inspired by the iconic actress, the eyewear includes animal-printed frames and upswept cat eye silhouettes. Each style is adorned with subtle Swarovski crystals for an extra note of glam. Marilyn Monroe eyewear brand will consist of ‘The Marilyn’ Limited Edition Sunglass which will retail for $495, the Silver Screen Sun collection that will retail from $98 to $168 and the Optical collection that will retail between $150 and $180.

Allure Eyewear will donate all profits from ‘The Marilyn’ sunglass to Hollygrove, which was once an orphanage where Marilyn lived as a child and is now an EMQ FamiliesFirst agency that helps children in crisis.”

‘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.