With Marilyn Monroe’s iconic fashion being brought to our attention on the pages of every fashion glossy (thanks to Michelle Williams’ brilliant portrayal of her in the current My Week with Marilyn) it was only natural that Andrew Hansford’s book Dressing Marilyn would be launched at this time.
Guests sipped on raspberry cocktails at the top of the Millbank Tower, admiring views of London, a typically glamorous setting for a book about the woman who most agree epitomises old Hollywood class and sophistication. The book focuses on the relatively unknown designer William Travilla, who designed and made Marilyn’s most iconic dresses, including the plunging gold lame number that was deemed to risqué for Marilyn to wear in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. A number of exact replicas of Marilyn’s famous numbers were on show around the party to give the sense of the shape and style that she knew suited her so well. Dancer Kristina Rhianoff of Strictly Come Dancing fame was also on hand impersonating the woman herself, posing for pictures and serving as a real life reminder of how cutting a figure Marilyn made.
The book itself is a beautiful anthology of Travilla’s sketches of Marilyn, pictures of her wearing his creations, and perhaps most interesting of all, the stories behind how each one came to be, and how Travilla and Marilyn’s relationship developed. Although ostensibly about her fashion and her look, this book gives a small insight into who the elusive real Marilyn was, as our fascination with her continues, fifty years after her death.
Dressing Marilyn is out now priced £20, published by Goodman