Saturday, August 25, 2018

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Marilyn Monroe and William Travilla
in a costume fitting.

That Marilyn Monroe (from now on she will be MM) was an icon it is something that all of us already know. Her influence was something palpable from the start of her career to the last day of her short life. MM was a balanced mix of innocence and sensual elegance that went through the screen and it made her close to her millions of fans around the world. But to become what she was, she needed some help, and one of the people who contributed most to her rise was William Travilla (1920-1990). We are going to talk about him and his relationship with the beloved blonde (he also preferred blondes).

MM in "The Seven Year Itch" (1955).
It was the year 1952, Mr. Travilla worked like a designer for 20th Century Fox and he was assigned the costumes of the movie "Don't Bother to Knock" in which MM was protagonist. It was the first one of eight movies in which this fabulous tandem would work together (it is even said that there was more than a professional relationship, but that's not our business). Of all the designs that this Californian created with MM in his mind, the best known was the spectacular white dress that our favorite explosive blonde wore in the iconic scene of "The Seven Year Itch" (1955). So the moment when a blow of air from the subway grate blew the well-known dress up and her legs were shown in all their splendor ... that moment is part of the History of Cinema (has anyone been tempted to do the same? Just curious to know). The dress in question was under lock after the death of Miss Monroe in 1962. Decades later after the decease of Travilla too, it was auctioned for $5.6 million of dollars (it is a crazy figure! but I guess this masterpiece is worth it). Travilla said about his creation: "I wanted Marilyn to look fresh and clean in the New York heat, but also pretty, funny and innocent, almost oblivious to her attractiveness" (and certainly he accomplished it).

Oh! and we can not forget another of his great designs: the wonderful pink satin dress that she wore in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1953) while singing "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" and she wiggled her sensuality here and there knowing that the world would be speechless. (and it was) Travilla dressed Marilyn Monroe like nobody else. He knew how to highlight her charms and she knew how to use them. He made Marilyn a fashion icon, and nowadays she is still one of the most admired women, not only because of her wardrobe, but also because of her natural talent, her movies are simply wonderful, and he made them more wonderful.

MM in "Gentlemen prefer blondes" (1953).

See you next week, vintage lovers!

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