Monday, June 18, 2012

Marilyn Monroe Models Swimsuits and Adds Sizzle to Summer

From the earliest days of her career, Marilyn Monroe posed in swimwear for the camera.  The then 19-year-old brunette Norma Jean Dougherty had a love of Jean Harlow and dream of escaping her challenging childhood by becoming a model.  In an effort to do so, she enlisted the help of many young and eager photographers looking to jump start their own careers.  Her first shoot with California photographer Joe Jasgur (shown below) was the beginning of a long love affair with the camera.  Others followed including Milton Greene, Cecil Beaton, Bert Stern, and a long list of other great photographers...many whose careers centered around their work with Marilyn.  Several of these sessions created iconic images we know today.

Everyone discovered very quickly that Marilyn was a natural for still photography.  The camera loved her...and the feeling was mutual.  She felt safe in front of the camera.  She was able to create a character there that was fully under her control.  And as you'll see from the photos I've gathered and organized from her shoots, she learned what works and her persona evolves--from her hair and makeup to her figure.  Reports say her weight fluctuated some 20 pounds during her career--anywhere between 119 to 140 on her 5'5" frame--but that never ever affected her confidence in front of the camera.  Marilyn understood every one of her assets and intuitively knew how to pose for the camera.  Every woman needs to take note.

Last year I chose Esther Williams as our summer inspiration and you'll see a lot of the swimsuit style she made famous here on Marilyn--the one-piece maillot.  Of course she took it one step further and really made the white one-piece iconic.  I'm an enormous fan of white bathing suits and Marilyn looks gorgeous in hers, going a long way to showing just how sexy a one-piece can be.  If you're interested in similar styles (in all colors), modern classics can be found at Popina Swimwear, J. Crew, Victoria's Secret, and Lands End.  But since the retro trend is in full effect for fashion this summer, just about every brand is carrying their own versions now.

These swimsuits are yet another way that Marilyn stays so relevant in fashion and unforgettable in our minds--beloved by men and women alike.  Regardless of what style you favor, enjoy the photos and let Marilyn inspire you to have your sexiest summer yet!

Joe Jasgur's 1946 photos of a then brunette 19-year-old Norma Jean

One of Marilyn's iconic moments--in a white strapless one-piece during
a 1949 shoot on Santa Monica Beach for photographer Andre de Dienes

Circa 1950 (Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve) in a sculptural velvet strapless one-piece maillot 
and strappy platform heels that she started to pair with swimsuits to add height

A 1940s Catalina maillot (sold on Etsy) similar to the one that Marilyn wore for her shoot

Platinum blonde hair is now a part of Marilyn's image 
while poolside in a black one-piece with Cary Grant, her co-star in 1952's Monkey Business

Marilyn now has "The Look" in makeup (and earrings) that she had as of Niagara (1953)
while in a high-waisted white bandeau bikini and strappy clear platform heels

A change of pace for Marilyn in a polkadot bikini with plenty of ruffles,
which also still inspires swimwear designers today

Another iconic shoot--this time with photographer Sam Shaw on Long Island in 1956
in the white one-piece she became known for

Fishing with then husband Arthur Miller

Lawrence Schiller captured Marilyn in a nude string bikini by the pool
during her last movie shoot for Something's Got to Give (1962, never finished) 

Breathless on Santa Monica Beach in a red ruched halter bikini
captured by George Barris in 1962 during one of her last photo shoots


the smoking nuns said...

great photos!!!

the smoking nuns said...

great photos!!

Kimberly Truhler said...

Thanks ladies! xo

Unknown said...

A lot of women are eating themselves skinny but this one right here is the true epitome of "sexy." On the other hand, breast augmentation sydney clinics are always full because some would want a voluptuous body like this one, too.

Marline said...

Marilyn seems so utterly at home in her curvy body--I only wish that more women today embraced their curves (like most men would like to). Thanks for showing us how Marilyn's look evolved, Kimberly. Great photos, great information. So glad you revisited this one!

Kimberly Truhler said...

Thanks Kay! It's always inspirational to look at these. Not only are they gorgeous warm weather shots of Marilyn, but they also remind us that she exuded confidence at every single size. Wish more women felt the same. :)

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