So I bought a lovely floral 1950s style dress from Hollister the other week and straight away it reminded me of one of my favourite outfits Marilyn wore in her 1953 film, Niagara. The film was a huge success on it’s first release, made over $6,000,000 at the US Box Office and established Marilyn as the leading lady of 1950s cinema.
Although initially you may be wondering why I think the dress is similar due to the length and colour being different, the style is pretty much the same and a great way to follow Marilyn’s style without splurging too much.
Marilyn’s dress was designed by Dorothy Jenkins, who also worked with her again on the costumes for her 1960 film, Let’s Make Love. I’ve been very fortunate to have seen quite a few of Marilyn’s dresses at exhibitions, but I have no idea where this one is today. Sadly, in the old days the studios didn’t know the value of their stars costumes and would often reuse them to make others. However, I still hope it will turn up some day!
The dress is worn in the film’s most famous scene. Marilyn’s character, Rose comes out of her lodge dressed in this incredible dress, which was pretty shocking for it’s time and shocks fellow visitors. She then requests a song, “Kiss” which is hers and her lovers favourite and sings it sensually, whilst her husband watches.
In a very witty scene following her entrance, onlooker Ray Cutler says to his wife, Polly, “Why don’t you ever get a dress like that?” and she replies, “Listen. For a dress like that, you’ve got to start laying plans when you’re about thirteen.”
The dress is definitely key to creating her only Femme Fatale role on screen. It establishes her as the, “tantalizing temptress who lures men on to their eternal destruction.” As Niagara was filmed in Technicolor, it appears before us as a shocking hot pink, but, pictures off film have showed it as a vibrant red. Either way, it’s one of her iconic costumes for sure and a firm favourite amongst fans.
Marilyn also wore the dress on numerous occasions after the film finished filming in 1952 and with the way it looks on her, who can be surprised?! I would love the real colour of the dress to be the colour on screen, but I think that’s wishful thinking. Pink or red? You’ll have to decide for yourself.
As I am a huge fan of Marilyn’s, you can understand my excitement when I found the similar styled dress from Hollister. I was a bit worried to try it on at first, as it’s quite revealing and I’m a pretty self conscious person, but it was too beautiful not to be brave and wear it. I also pin curled my hair to complete the Marilyn inspired look and my 1950s style.
I couldn’t have chosen a better place to take the close up photo, my girl was right behind me and in the dress! I can’t wait to wear this in the summer.
I hope this post helps you to be inspired by your favourites and to watch Niagara (1953), it’s Marilyn’s only Film Noir and just a must see for lovers of Old Hollywood and Marilynettes.
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