Saturday, May 24, 2014

Style Essentials--Stardom Strikes Marilyn Monroe as GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES

In the story of the life of Marilyn Monroe, 1953 was an exceptional year.  It is perhaps the greatest year of her tragically short life.  1953 began with her star on the rise from some successes of the year before; it ended with Marilyn being the biggest star in the world.  Niagara premiered in January with two firsts for Marilyn—Technicolor and top billing.  Though that top billing wouldn't extend to the next picture that premiered in July—Gentlemen Prefer Blondes—there is little doubt that she became the star of the show.  The publicity that surrounded the film seemed to focus on her and continued through the end of the year when How to Marry a Millionaire made its debut.  The public couldn’t get enough and things would never be the same for the former Norma Jeane Baker.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is one of those movies where everything was in alignment.  At its helm was the great director Howard Hawks, one of my favorites and best known for manly movies like the original Scarface (1932), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), and the first of the Humphrey Bogart-Lauren Bacall collaborations To Have and Have Not (1944) and The Big Sleep (1946).  But he was also equally adept at comedy and loved strong women--as shown in Bringing Up Baby (1938) and His Girl Friday (1940)--so he was the perfect person to take this Broadway musical onto the big screen.  A signature of all his films is the strong relationship of the leads and their witty dialogue, and he couldn't do much better than he did in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes--he had the language of the great Anita Loos and Charles Lederer for stars Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe.

Without question, another signature of any Hawks production is its style.  His films feature some of the best costume design and designers of all time, including Howard Greer, (Robert) Kalloch, and Milo Anderson.  Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is no fact, what people seem to remember most about the movie is its style.  Marilyn is luminous as lead Lorelei Lee in costumes by her longtime friend and legendary costume designer William "Billy" Travilla.   Travilla was highly respected and regarded; he had already won an Oscar at Warner Brothers before coming to 20th Century Fox and was known for being a real gentlemen.  Marilyn was in awe of his talent and introduced herself to him when only a contract player at Fox in 1950.  She was thrilled when they were paired for her first lead in 1952's Don't Bother to Knock.  Niagara would have been next if it had not been for his heavy workload and too many pictures in production at once.  Their partnership would pick up again with Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Marilyn would then never be without Travilla by her side...both on and off the screen.
Though The Seven Year Itch has THE most iconic costume design of all time with Travilla's "Subway" dress for Marilyn, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is not far behind with three iconic looks of its own--the strapless pink column gown (for the performance of "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend"), the slinky gold "sunburst" gown, and the long-sleeve red sequin gown (for the performance of "Little Rock").  These designs were hugely popular with the public, and their influence began to immediately trickle down into fashion.  We all know that they have had a lasting impact as well--Travilla's design legacy can be seen in red carpet fashions by designers like Badgley Mischka, Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, Naeem Kahn, and many more today.  You’ll see some examples below.  The costume design from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is so good that it’s even transcended fashion and become a part of our public consciousness.  There aren't many people who won't recognize at least one of these gowns for Marilyn.  And, as I've seen in person, all seem to elicit a similar awestruck response.  

It is the fact that these gowns are so well known that we might feel we know everything about this film. Nothing could be further from the truth.  In order to bring you an even greater appreciation of the costume design from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, I turned to the foremost expert on Travilla--Kimberley Ashley.  Ashley is an author, founder of the Ashley-Travilla Foundation, and steward of the great costume designer's legacy.  With an ongoing career in couture, she is both informed and insightful in our conversations.  Last year I spoke with her about Travilla’s talent, his relationship with Marilyn, and his adventurous life on and off the screen.  This time I turned our talk to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and what the year 1953 meant to Marilyn Monroe and her magician Travilla.

Costume designer William "Billy" Travilla
and expert Kimberley Ashley

Kimberley, my first question is about 1953, which was a very important year to Marilyn and of course Billy Travilla as well.  She went from Niagara (released January 21) to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (released July 18) to How to Marry a Millionaire (released November 5) all in that one year.

What was 1953 like for Marilyn and Travilla as her star ascended so quickly?  
It was fascinating for them to watch the meteoric rise of her 'star.'  
Billy was already famous as a designer in the film community due in part to his earlier work for Hollywood’s 'Golden Boy' Errol Flynn and Ann Sheridan. But Marilyn went from being obscure to the seemingly instant “It” girl [in 1953]. 
According to her most accurate biographer, Donald Spoto, Marilyn began 1953 by making a pact with her then-boyfriend Joe DiMaggio that she would not wear such “revealing dresses.” He was horrified that Billy designed such salacious costumes for Marilyn's roles. I imagine Joe was NOT a Travilla fan. 
To say that 1953 was an outstanding year for Marilyn and Billy is a severe understatement. Here are even more of the events that happened that year.

February 1953--cover of Photoplay magazine

June 1953--Marilyn and Jane immortalized at Grauman's Chinese Theater (in Travilla, one month before Gentlemen premiered)
and Marilyn at Chasen's after the event with then fiance Joe DiMaggio

September 1953--her first TV appearance and it's on The Jack Benny Show in skit that promoted Gentlemen
and being touched up by her friend and makeup artist Whitey Snyder at show (gown by Travilla)

November 1953--getting ready for premiere for How to Marry a Millionaire and
leaving the Wilshire Beauty Shop to a frenzy of fans (same gown by Travilla as Jack Benny Show)

December 1953--cover of Photoplay again, 
this time photographed by future business partner Milton Greene

December 1953--first issue ever of Playboy magazine, which featured Marilyn in cover photo 
from 1952 Miss America Pageant parade where Marilyn was Grand Marshall (gown by Travilla)...

...and this first Playboy also featured Marilyn as the centerfold 
using the now iconic photo taken years earlier for a nude calendar

Without question, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was at the center of this remarkable year and the reason that she became such a popular star.  Did she and Travilla have any kind of strategic conversation about her look in clothes, as she did with friend and makeup artist Whitey Snyder about her "Look"?  Or did Marilyn simply trust Travilla to dress her (both on and offscreen) with some feedback of hers along the way?
Marilyn's only strategy was to get out of Billy's way and let him work his magic.  She trusted his talent so completely that Marilyn was the ONLY actress to let him sketch his croquis for her costumes without needing approval or any input.  She only broke with that tradition [once] for Bus Stop when she did, indeed, give input. 
Marilyn recognized the brilliant psychology [of] a costume designer.  Although she may have blurred the lines of using costumes in real life, as an actress, she realized...they are first and foremost tools to tell the audience about the personality of that role. Marilyn trusted Billy's brilliance implicitly.  Billy's strategy on all of Marilyn's films was to make her believable in that role, and yet, show her beauty. Fortunately for Billy, many of Marilyn's roles required glamour as they were that of a woman using her appearance to “catch a man.”  Which, of course, was a very common theme in the 1950s.  

Travilla and a costume from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes...
from sketch to his model Marilyn to the movie (look how even the jewelry is perfectly placed for the scene)

Let’s talk about the gowns now, starting with the pink “Diamonds” gown as it's probably the best known one from the film.  What insights can you give us into its design origins? And how was the color pink chosen?
It is still not commonly known that the world-famous pink "Diamonds" gown was Plan B.  Billy’s second most famous Marilyn Monroe costume [after The Seven Year Itch "Subway" dress] was a dramatic quick Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.  Plan A was an outfit that I consider the most stunning costume Billy ever designed for Marilyn.  It was also the most costly. 
During pre-production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, the censors inspected every costume for the film.  The Plan A costume was perilously close to being over-the-line sexy. Designed to look like a showgirl outfit from the Follies Bergere in Paris, Billy knew the costume was risky.  He said,  
It made it appear that her body was covered by nothing more than a pair of fishnet hose that traveled up her torso to just under her breasts. Then a harness of rhinestones traveled around her hips and fell into a ponytail at her back with black Bird of Paradise feathers.  Marilyn had to stand for hours while the jeweler and I shaped everything to her (nude) body.  Then we soldered the jewels on.  We were very strategic, there was even a jewel in front of each nipple.

The Hays Code was in full effect in 1953 and rejected this risque costume
that was originally designed for the "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" number
Courtesy of Kimberley Ashley

[Ashley continues] But as strategic as Billy was with wisely placing Marilyn’s “jewels,” the $4,000 costume representing weeks of work got censored.  After spending such a longtime on Plan A, Billy had just two days to replace it with something more within the limits of good taste.” I can only imaging how disappointed Billy must have been when he was forced to scrap it.  He was told in no uncertain terms to COVER HER UP! 
Plan A was scrapped in a panic only days before filming that scene. [Around this same time,] Marilyn's nude calendar, which sold more than a quarter of a million copies, was raising eyebrows and wrecking havoc with puritanical audiences.
Billy very swiftly and pointedly decided upon both the color and the gown style due to the crisis that was occurring....He wisely chose pink, the color of innocence so favored by little girls, in a fabric whose name means “skin of angels” to serve as her new costume:
I took a brilliant candy-pink silk peau d'ange and flattened it to (deep) green billiard felt.  I crunched the whole thing in, with a belt at the waist, and a huge bow at the back. For oomph, we added full length gloves in a matching pink and loaded her arms with diamond bracelets.
But even though Billy covered her body, Marilyn's strutting had the same effect of being undressed.  
Apart from two side seams, the dress was folded into shape, rather like cardboard. Any other girl would have looked like she was wearing cardboard.  But on the screen, I swear, you would have thought Marilyn had on a pale thin piece of silk.  Her body was so fabulous it STILL came through!
Billy's new “Origami” costume was also designed, with its wrapped back opening, to allow Marilyn to “strut.” Choreographer Jack Cole purposely designed that dance scene to minimize dancing because he said Marilyn didn't really dance per se. Cole said she "strutted" more accurately...skipped, ran, leaped, strolled, pointed, and flung her arms about as she was pursued by a throng of male admirers while caressing long strands of diamonds. 

In only two days, Travilla designed this iconic pink column gown
as a replacement for another deemed too revealing by the production code

Absolutely everything about the design of this look--from the color to the belted gown
with a bow in the back to the hair and makeup--have become iconic

Travilla was genius for choosing to create pink gowns against a red background...
it's where I learned the lesson of how great this color combination can be

Travilla perfectly designed this gown for Marilyn so she could "strut"
in her "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" number 

What did he think of the popularity of the pink "Diamonds" gown, in particular, and how often it is woven into popular culture?
He was amused by it considering it was such a spontaneous creation.  Everybody knows that gown.  He gave the credit for its fame, however, to those curves of Marilyn's that lay underneath it.
Billy was amused that it continued to be copied by others up until his death.  He was NOT amused, however, that Madonna had it copied it for her "Material Girl" video and didn't hire him to create it.  He felt such a gesture was disrespectful.
The gown is, of course, considered iconic, and that performance has inspired homages by many [starting with] Madonna.  It has also been duplicated by Christina Aguilera, Kylie Minogue, Nicole Kidman, Anna Nicole Smith, Katie Couric, and even actor James Franco during his stint as a co-host for the Oscars.  I feel Franco would have amused Billy and Marilyn the most.

Two more descendants of Marilyn's pink gown--Natalie Portman in Lanvin for 2012 Golden Globes
and Kate Beckinsale in Donna Karan (with a bow in the back) for 2012 Total Recall premiere

Of course Madonna's video for "Material Girl" (1985) is the ultimate homage,
but she wrongly didn't turn to Travilla for her gown's design

Now let's move on to the gold "sunburst" gown.  In the film, the glory of the gown is largely hidden because of the way it is shot, yet everyone knows it so well.  Was the gown (in its entirety) used in a ton of publicity at that time? 
It is little known that the gold plunging neckline dress that Marilyn made famous was NOT designed for her.  Billy designed that costume for Ginger Rogers who wore it in the 20th Century Fox film Dreamboat [1952, below].

[Ashley continues] After Marilyn saw the gown hanging in Billy's office, she had a fit and demanded to wear it.  So first, Billy let her wear it for a brief scene in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and for some publicity photos [for the film]. 
But when Marilyn was deciding what to wear for the Photoplay event--held in the Crystal Room of the Beverly Hills Hotel--she was set on wearing the gold dress again. To get her hands on it, she had to go through Billy.  He wanted to protect her from her own ignorance of the fact that it was not designed to be worn in public. 
My clothes for Marilyn were an act of love, because I adored her. I couldn't help but do my best for her.  When Marilyn asked me for the dress, I told her she couldn't have it, 'IT'S A COSTUME!'  [The fabric] was so delicate, it wouldn't even hold a zipper, we had to baste the back seam together by hand.
That’s why Billy refused to give it to her.  Although he warned Marilyn that the fabric was too thin, too sheer, too tight on her, and that it would make her look fat, she stormed off and spoke with Fox studio head, Daryl F. Zanuck. The studio boss called Billy and said, “Let her have it.
Billy relented and had the studio seamstresses carefully sew Marilyn into the gown. So when Marilyn went to receive the "Fastest Rising Star" award at the 1953 Photoplay ceremony in Beverly Hills, she did so wearing a Travilla costume. 
When Joe saw what Marilyn was wearing that night before leaving, he stormed off and she was forced to attend the event squired by Sidney Skolsky.  So much for her promise to Joe about dressing more demurely that year. 
As Billy predicted, the revealing nature of her dress caused a whirlwind of controversy. Of course this story about the gold dress and the ruckus and headlines it created is now Hollywood legend.  That drama actually ended up adding to the momentum of Marilyn's rising star. In 1953, Marilyn Monroe was receiving 25,000 fan letters each week at Fox, partly because of her bravado.
That gold lame pleated gown she wore is now an icon in itself. 

Audiences got a sneak preview of the gold gown from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in the press
when Marilyn won the "Fastest Rising Star" in 1953 from Photoplay magazine

Are there any secrets behind the gold gown and its incredible construction?
All of Billy’s costumes for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes are made with un-seen engineering cleverly constructed inside.  To morph Marilyn’s body to perfection, those costumes contain lots of “smoke and mirrors.”   [Just like] the pink “Diamonds” gown has that green billiard felt lining to stiffen the hand of the fabric, the gold lame pleated gown has wires sewn inside the edges of the plunging keep it from gapping.  And, hand-sewn into its sheer and delicate gold fabric, it has under-cups [used for] false breasts (as does Billy's famed Seven Year Itch dress). 

Finally the gown is seen in color as publicity shots from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes began to circulate

This is the only way we view the iconic gold gown in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes...
and what a view

Two descendants of Marilyn's gold gown--Beyonce in Elie Saab for the 2007 Golden Globes
and one from Zuhair Murad's collection for Fall 2013

Marilyn and Jane play best friends in the film and are often on screen together.  This means that the costume design must work for each of their characters as well as co-exist beautifully onscreen.  How did Travilla approach that challenge?
When Billy began designing costumes on any film, he would first meet with the set designer to collaborate on set colors and patterns.  He did this to make sure that colors would not clash or be swallowed up onscreen by matching the set.  This is a basic part of any costume designer’s practice no matter the film.  Few people outside of the industry would be aware of this. 
Then, as you point out, Billy would have to consider how Marilyn and Jane looked alongside each other for shared scenes.  The character roles of Monroe and Russell were different in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.  Russell played the savvy, street-wise girl who was looking for love.  Marilyn’s character wanted to use her sex appeal to snag a rich man.  Billy designed beautiful unique styles for each character, but Russell’s outfits are a touch less feminine, less “girly,” and more confident.  
For the duo’s [onscreen stage act,] Billy designed matching outfits, such as the red sequin gowns for the film's opening musical scene of  “Little Rock.”  [These gowns have] a nude colored piece of fabric sewn down the front plunging neckline, although audiences think they see skin and cleavage.  Billy even has those bracelets on the red sequined sleeves sewn onto the fabric so they don’t move around as Marilyn and Jane gesture and dance. 
Having had the blessing of inspecting it in person, my favorite detail on the "Little Rock" red sequin gown is the way Billy designed the sequins on the skirt fabric to increase in size as they get closer to the hem.  It is a stunning detail that would be completely missed on camera, but which he added with love. 

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes begins with a bang...
the two stars in red sequin gowns tossing their white furs into the audience

When the ladies move and dance in their costumes,
you really begin to understand the true genius of Travilla

A shout out to Whitey Snyder for his luminous makeup on Marilyn

Here you can really appreciate the nude lining disguising the decolletage
and the tremendous detail of their outfits, including bracelets that are sewn onto the dresses

Two descendants of the red "Little Rock" gowns--Catherine Zeta-Jones in Elie Saab at the 2011 Tony's
and Pink also in Elie Saab performing "Over the Rainbow" at the 2014 Oscars

There are so many incredible gowns in the film, even beyond the three iconic ones we've already discussed.  Orange is one of my favorite colors, so that gown of Marilyn's has always spoken to me.  The bridal gowns are also highly influential. Did Billy have a favorite gown from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes?
Billy was asked this question many times.  And at different times, he gave different answers, so it’s difficult to say today. I know that he was very proud that three of his designs for Marilyn are now considered cinema icons. At the time of his death in 1990, the white Seven Year Itch dress was valued at several thousand dollars, and he was proud of that.  If he had been alive three years ago and had watched, as I did, as Debbie Reynolds sold the dress at auction for nearly six million dollars, he would have died of joy.

The ladies love to make an entrance in this movie and do so again and again...
here they stun the room with Marilyn in orange chiffon and Jane in black sequins

Perfect makeup again by Whitey Snyder

Two descendants of Marilyn's orange gown--orange is the new black on Zuhair Murad's Fall 2009 runway
and Amy Adams in Elie Saab at the 2011 BAFTA Awards

Yet another grand entrance for Marilyn and Jane with their walk down the aisle

Lace was a huge trend in the 1950s after being unavailable through World War II,
and often used in wedding gowns such as these trend-setting ones by Travilla

The ladies live happily ever after

For those who wish to be notified about the release of Kimberley Ashley's upcoming book, 
you can 'like' The Legendary Travilla Style on Facebook

This article is also part of the Classic Movie Blog Association's
Fabulous Films of the 1950s blogathon--check out the list through the link for more great articles on the era


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post, thank you! I learned so much about those iconic costumes!

Marline said...

Phenomenal post!!!! And obviously a labor of love, Kimberly! So much hard work and passion went into this! I love it, I'm sharing it: it's one of the best, most interesting you've ever done---and that's saying a lot, as your posts are always terrific! Beautifully done, my friend!! XO Kay

beachgal said...
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beachgal said...

One correction - the photo of Marilyn coming out of the Beauty Salon that you said is her leaving the Jack Benny Show and meeting fans is her leaving the Beauty Salon in Beverly Hills where she got ready for the premier of How to Marry A Millionaire. I was born in the 40s and her days in the 50s were iconic even then with so many photos and so much footage we saw over and over at the movies in the newsreels and I've looked at for years since. I lived just west of Hollywood and was at Grauman's patio the day Marilyn and Jane put their footprints in cement. There was film around of Marilyn leaving the salon going over to the premier of How To Marry A Millionaire but I have not seen it for many years. However you can look at the footage of Marilyn outside the premier of HTMAM that is on YouTube and see the dress, her hair/makeup and the white fox she wore off/on at that point. She met up with Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart at that premier.

That dress was worn on the Jack Benny Show but at that point it had a netted half skirt added to the back of it - when she wore it for the premier of HTMAM it did not have the netted half skirt attached.

Caftan Woman said...

I used to admire those costumes, now I know about them. Thanks!

Kimberly Truhler said...

Thanks Blonde at the Film! Glad you enjoyed it. :)

Kimberly Truhler said...

Thanks, Kay--I really appreciate it! You said it...a labor of love. Took a lot of work, but so proud of it and being able to share this great information with the world. It's just all so fascinating! It means a lot that you enjoyed it so much! xo

Kimberly Truhler said...

Thanks Beach Gal--always appreciate any information. I will make the adjustment in the piece.

beachgal said...
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beachgal said...
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Kimberly Truhler said...

Thanks Caftan Woman! I felt the same way. I knew a lot about these costumes before my interview with Kimberley Ashley, but she absolutely blew me away. The fact that the pink gown was a fast replacement for a gown that was originally planned was perhaps the biggest mind-blower for me. Just an unbelievable display of Travilla's great great talent.

Grand Old Movies said...

What a wonderful, informative post, with great photos. I had no idea about the costume history behind this film, and I found it fascinating, especially for how the famous pink gown was constructed. It really adds to the watching of this film. Thanks so much.

Christian Esquevin said...

Wonderful post Kimberly - a fascinating interview with Kimberley Ashley on the ever-interesting Billy Travilla. Thanks for this contribution to the Fabulous Films of the 50s Blogathon, a real winner.

Silver Screenings said...

Truly a fascinating post, and very well done. I was really surprised that the pink gown was a last-minute replacement! Also, I didn't realize that costumes for films are not necessarily meant to be worn in public.

What a gifted designer. No wonder Marilyn wouldn't go with anyone else!

Page said...

I was thrilled when I found out you would be covering the fashions of GPB. WOW! So many wonderful illustrations, then and now depictions of the wonderful gowns from the film.

I'm not the biggest Monroe fan but I adore Jane Russell so I've seen the film at least 10 times. A lot for me considering my dislike of 50s musicals.

Such a fun approach to the Blogathon. We all love fashion so this was a real treat.

As others have stated, you put so much work into this with the interview, photos. Also, love a great candid from that era when GPB was getting its well deserved publicity.
All the best,

Citizen Screen said...

DAMMIT! I forgot to send you the picture with ME in the iconic red, plunging neckline number! :)

Love this, Kimberly. Everything about it. It makes me miss your webinar less. I think Gentlemen Prefer Blondes shows Marilyn at her best for all the reasons you mention and because it is a wonderful showcase for her great comedic timing.


Kimberly Truhler said...

Thanks Grand Old Movies! That's why I enjoy sharing these stories about the costume design and designers--it gives us even more to the backstory of these classic films we know and love so much. Glad this added to your appreciation of the film!

Kimberly Truhler said...

Thanks Christian! I appreciate that. I knew you and Kay would both enjoy this one. Even I learned a lot from this interview and came to appreciate this iconic costume design even more. Travilla truly is brilliant--came up with the pink "Diamonds" gown in only two days?! I mean, come on! :)

Kimberly Truhler said...

Thanks Ruth! Yes, costume designers are very passionate about the fact that what they create is for the characters and for the stories onscreen. It's not always the case that the costumes are as delicate as the gold gown was, but sometimes they are really only suited for the screen.

Yes I, too, was blown away by the fact that the pink "Diamonds" gown was done last minute, under great stress, and as a replacement for another costume. What a testament to Travilla's talent.

Kimberly Truhler said...

Thanks Page! I love to bring a new way to appreciate these classic films we love so much. This one is a big story with a lot of fascinating aspects to it, so I couldn't resist. I've seen GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES many times, but now I truly love it for all that went into it. It's so easy to take it for granted since it's now iconic, but it's no wonder this is really the film that made Marilyn a star. Happy to bring this all to my first blogathon with the Classic Movie Blog Association!

Kimberly Truhler said...

Thanks Aurora! LOL You crack me up--you are too funny. I totally agree about Marilyn and her comic timing in GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES--she makes it look so easy. As they always say, you have to be smart to play someone who seems like the dumb blonde. And Travilla really knew how to highlight all of her best attributes. Even in costumes where she is completely covered up in a sweater and skirt, she still looks amazing. I wanted to share it all, but focused instead on the gowns since everyone feels like they know them so well.

I miss you at the webinars, too! I'll be starting them up again in June, and with some new info in many of them, so I'll keep you posted. You're more than welcome to come as my guest. :)

Kimberly J.M. Wilson said...

Really enjoyed reading this. When I wrote my review of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes I learned a lot about the costumes, but nearly as much as this article has to say.

The Lady Eve said...

Thoroughly enjoyed your piece on "Gentlemen" and Marilyn and Travilla (and your nods to Whitey Snyder), Kimberly, and I'm really looking forward to your book on Billy Travilla.

This may be the one and only time I'll ever be thankful for the Hays Code! That shocking pink column gown is the absolute epitome of elegance combined with sex appeal. So much more effective, I think, than the more overt outfit would've been. And on that red set. Brilliant.

Kimberly Truhler said...

Thanks so much, Kim! I really appreciate that. I enjoyed talking to Kimberley--our conversation included even more, if you can believe it. Just fascinating. Thanks for dropping by!

Kimberly Truhler said...

Thanks Patty! Glad you enjoyed it all. I agree--the pink and red combo was just brilliant. And it's amazing how the Code once again impacted costume design and in a positive way, too! Happy to have you drop by. Hope you're doing well--don't be such a stranger! xo

Kimberly Truhler said...

Oh, and P.S. Patty--the upcoming book on Travilla is by Kimberley Ashley, the person I interviewed, not me. My upcoming book is based on THE STYLE ESSENTIALS series I have on GlamAmor, and teach in classes, presentations, and the webinars. Stay tuned for that! :)

Unknown said...

I've just come across GlamAmor and can see I'm going to be spending a lot of time exploring over the next few days! So much for sleeping and work.

Kimberly Truhler said...

Welcome Kirsten! I can tell you're going to have a lot of fun here. :)

Barbara said...

Though the pink dress from 'The Gentlemen prefer blondes' is an iconic piece, I am sad to see that the original design was deemed too provocative. There are a few seductive pieces that both Monroe and Russell wore in the same movie. Censoring the 'living necklace costume' is ridiculous while leaving the 'living chandelier' made of women who have their legs wide open to form a human chandelier was seen as OK by those zealous censors. Oh well, those were the times.

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