Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Marilyn Monroe Dresses Go on Show - William Travilla's "Lost Collection"

Marilyn and Travilla in 1953

Oscar-winning costume designer William Travilla's dresses for Marilyn Monroe are going on show today, for the first time ever, at the Hilton Hotel in Brighton, England.

Marilyn wore Travilla's creations for movies such as The Seven Year Itch (the iconic white subway grate halter dress, now estimated to be worth £1.5 million, that is 3 million dollars), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (the fuchsia pink satin gown she wore for the "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" number, the red sequin dress that opens the film, and the gold lamé dress which appeared only briefly in the film), and How to Marry a Millionaire.

"The Seven Year Itch" (1955)
"How to Marry a Millionaire" (1953)

While others, including the studios, sold their Marilyn dresses, Travilla never let go. Travilla first met Marilyn in 1950 and costumed eight of her films. They were personal friends, and Marilyn even inscribed one of the famous nude calendars to him, with the words, "Billy Dear, please dress me forever. I love you, Marilyn."

Jane Russell, Charles Coburn, Marilyn Monroe.
"Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1953)

At Travilla's death in 1990, he left the collection to his partner Bill Sarris. This is the first time the dresses have gone on exhibit, and even now they can be seen only for a week, until Sunday October 7, 2007. All the proceeds will go to benefit Alzheimer's research.

"The Hidden Dresses of Marilyn Monroe" exhibit will showcase seven Marilyn dresses as well as Travilla's costume sketches. The collection can be visited at the Hilton Brighton Metropole Hotel, Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 2FU. Tickets are priced at £10 and are available on the door.

Marilyn performing "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend"

For more information on the exhibit and how to visit it, see:

Related Posts:
Old Hollywood Glamour: Forever Marilyn Dresses
How To Do Marilyn Monroe Makeup: Step by Step Tips
Fall 2007 Old Hollywood Glamour Gowns, Part I
Old Hollywood Glamour Gowns for Fall 2007, Part II

All Marilyn pictures from my personal collection.

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Valley Girl said...

I love Marilyn. I have a bunch of her movies on DVD. Its not really so much her as I love seeing what she was wearing. Weren't women just 10x more glamorous then?

G.G. said...

Yes, they sure were. Except for the little matter of WWII, I sometimes wish I had been born decades earlier :)

shoeaddict said...

God, me too! And she's not super skinny!!! I loved what she wore to her wedding to Joe.

G.G. said...

Yeah, that beautiful "walking suit" - while she dressed a bit vulgarly sometimes, she definitely influenced fashion in her times and ever since. How many times do you hear people say "Oh, that's so Marilyn!" I just love her.

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