Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cinema Connection--Fashion's Fixation on the Little White Dress of SEVEN YEAR ITCH

As I recently discussed on GlamAmor, little in film has made a bigger impact on fashion than 1955's  The Seven Year Itch.  Marilyn Monroe flaunts her figure in several incredible dresses thanks to Twentieth Century-Fox costume designer William Travilla, but the movie is a Style Essential due to the one dress that exploded in our cultural consciousness.  Everyone knows the iconic white halter dress that flutters up around Marilyn's waist when the subway breeze blows beneath her.  

Since that moment, there has been a steady supply of options to help women channel their inner Marilyn.  This, of course, ranges from costume copies to contemporary clothing.  Its influence even in high fashion is hard to ignore.  The little white dress is a wardrobe staple and there are precious few that don't take at least some inspiration from Travilla's design for Marilyn.  The halter top, wide waist band, self tie belt, pleating, and swingy skirt are details that have continued to appear in dress after dress after dress.  Nearly every one of the fashion houses--whether more minimal like Calvin Klein and Donna Karan or more over-the-top like Betsy Johnson and Versace--have all done their own versions.  And now up and coming designers like Rafael Cemmano and David Jones continue to do beautiful interpretations, some of which you will see below.

This dress is so iconic that its moment on film has been immortalized in countless ways.  Almost 60 years since it first appeared in Seven Year Itch, it still appears everywhere...from cards, t-shirts, and posters to plays, television shows, and other movies.  There is even a 26 foot statue by artist Seward Johnson of Marilyn in all her glory standing in Chicago today.  But its influence truly lives on in fashion and here's where it all started...just a simple summery little white dress.

Victoria's Secret model Miranda Kerr shows she's a super fan of the Marilyn look
wearing it again and again, including on the runway for designer David Jones

Taylor Swift (above), Carrie Underwood, and Whitney Port
all wearing dresses from designer Rafael Cemmano that show the influence of Travilla

Fergie rocking the Marilyn while on American Idol
and retailer Sundayfrog revealing their own Marilyn look on the runway

My own Marilyn moment while modeling a 1950s silk dress from GlamAmor

Seward Johnson's 26 foot statue in Chicago capturing Marilyn's iconic moment


Marline said...

LOVE this post...you found so many great examples of MM's white dress and LOVE that you shared YOUR interpretation, beautiful!!! This is exactly why YOU are the queen of the couture bloggers...you understand the influences and inspirations like nobody else. What a great way to end my rainy day! Thanks, Kimberly! xo Kay www.moviestarmakeover.com/blog/

Kimberly Truhler said...

Oh, I'm so glad you liked it, Kay! There are so many examples of dresses that I confined myself to sharing more recent ones. It's quite simply a dress that keeps influencing fashion. I didn't even get into all the colors it appears in as well...I actually had a purple version when I was growing up!

Beautiful Day said...

Love Marilyn's look. She had an amazing smile!

Just quietly, the Victoria's Secret model is Miranda Kerr :)

Kimberly Truhler said...

Thank you Wendy! I'm surprised one of the guys in the GlamAmor audience didn't correct me already. lol Don't know how I confused the two of them, especially since Miranda is Mrs. Orlando Bloom. :)

And I agree about Marilyn's smile. I know she has many positive attributes and assets, but her smile is a huge reason she comes across so wonderfully on film.

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