I believe in fate, I really do. Whilst I was attending what seemed like a million press days a few weeks ago, I found myself on Eastcastle street outside the Getty Images Gallery, shaking with excitement. The Gallery was hosting a photographic exhibition dedicated to my all time favourite movie icon, Marilyn Monroe….AND, it had ten of her original costumes and outfits as part of the exhibition. How could I not go in?
I have been a fan of Marilyn since I was about 7 years old. I remember seeing her picture in an unsolved murder book that belonged to my mother and thinking she was some sort of beautiful goddess woman. I now have about 200 books about Monroe, numerous other bits of memorabilia, and a serious obsession with a woman, who, even in the 50th year since her death, just refuses to go away. Always young, always beautiful and with a vulnerability that still shines through, she remains one of the most fascinating icons of our time. And the photographs and costumes in the Getty exhibition show why.
There were Travilla designed costumes from films like’ Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’, including the red sequinned gown she wore when she sang ‘We’re just two little girls from Little Rock’, and the ivory gown from ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ The black beaded gown she wore in ‘Some Like it Hot’ is part of the display, as is the white beaded showgirl dress from ‘There’s no business like showbusiness’. There were also dresses that Marilyn wore off duty, including a stunning white evening dress with lines of intricate beading.
The photographs don’t really do the costumes justice, the glass meant there is a glare on some of the images, but the costumes are beautifully preserved and feel like an amazing piece of film history, the wonderful outfits worn by a much-loved star. As ever, they also prove that the theory of Marilyn Monroe as a size 16 star is far removed from the reality, these costumes were tiny, she was certainly no Christina Hendricks.