My fabulous friend Cara (up and coming fashion photographer!) whisked me off to the Marilyn exhibition at the getty images gallery behind Oxford Circus yesterday afternoon and what a treat it was!
Not only were there some fabulous photographs, both iconic and less known, of Marilyn Monroe but also some of her costumes from films, ads and premieres!
This beautiful piece was worn by her in an ad. quite surprisingly innocent looking though in the ad she plays on that innocent/sexy look (this corset highlighted her ample cleavage!), a look she would play on again and again until making herself into a world famous brand.
Here is the iconic red dress from Some like it hot! Incredible sequin detail though up close it’s less glamorous. Definitely made so by Marilyn though!
Next to it is a dress she wore in a film which was considered scandalous at the time as it is see through around the bosom and stomach. To be honest, it’s still pretty raunchy even by todays standard!!
It was apparently so tight that she had to be lifted onto the piano!
This wiggle dress surprised me as it is made of sturdy, thick cotton I think but on Marilyn it looked incredible, rather than matronish, enhancing her hour glass figure!
Then came the photographs of Marilyn herself, creating a portrait of her as a very self aware glamourous film star, always ready for the cameras, with her trademark red lipstick dazzling smile…
It also created a portrait of a woman trapped by her own image, an image she tried to escape in her films and yet constantly turned into the dumb blonde character by others.
This was not a stupid woman. Marilyn played on her assets to succeed but in the late 1950s, it was still a world where you had to impress men first to get ahead.
She was the ultimate pinup but trapped by it.
Truly a fascinating exhibition about an incredibly brave woman in a man”s world.