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Marilyn Monroe’s iconic pink dress from ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,’ & why only she could wear it

Ian Harvey

A year before her “flying skirt” moment in the filming of The Seven Year Itch, the most famous starlet in movie history, Marilyn Monroe, made cinematic history in 1953 with another dress, the shocking pink strapless number in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

She wore the dress, designed by William Travilla, in one of the most famous scenes of the movie.

As she sang the tune “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” Marilyn likely never thought she would be making an unforgettable impact with her seductive choreography, surrounded by suitors in formal attire. The song has been declared the 12th most important film song of all time by the American Film Institute.

“Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”: the 20th Century Fox movie, a musical comedy/romance directed by Howard Hawks, starred Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe, with Charles Coburn, Elliott Reid, Tommy Noonan, Taylor Holmes, and Norma Varden.

“Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”: the 20th Century Fox movie, a musical comedy/romance directed by Howard Hawks, starred Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe, with Charles Coburn, Elliott Reid, Tommy Noonan, Taylor Holmes, and Norma Varden.

The pink dress, admired by many, was not only strapless and tight but floor-length. Uncovered arms and bare shoulders, as well as the big bow on the back and thin strap, were the most apparent features.

However, what made the ensemble complete were the diamonds, matching the song’s lyrics, and the pair of long gloves of the exact same color as the dress, giving the actress elegance and glamour.

The dress was repeatedly imitated over the years. One time it was Madonna, appearing in the music video for her song “Material Girl.”

Madonna claimed she “hated” the dress because of how difficult it was to move in, but she endured the discomfort while trying to copy Monroe’s choreography.

Although she tried to evoke the sex symbol of another era, it was in vain. No one could fit more perfectly into a satin pink dress than Monroe, who collaborated with its designer, William Travilla, for years. He also created the white dress for her for The Seven Year Itch.

By the time he designed the pink dress, he had won an Oscar in 1948 for his work in Adventures of Don Juan. It was even thought that he had an affair with Monroe due to the fact that he designed most of her costumes.

Travilla designed dresses for other actresses in eight movies. However, it seems as if the costumes he made for Monroe were destined to write history long after he and the starlet were gone.

Marilyn Monroe posing in the ivory cocktail dress with its amazing pleats.

Marilyn Monroe posing in the ivory cocktail dress with its amazing pleats.

Although the little white dress from The Seven Year Itch was sold for over $5 million, the pink one went for big money too. Estimated at a price between $150,000 and $250,000 at an auction, the pink dress was sold for $310,000, and was described as the most important film costume to ever come to auction.

According to speculations, the dress at the auction wasn’t the original worn by Monroe, but those rumors were never proven to be true. The pink dress had a lasting impact. As well as Madonna, many other artists and actresses have donned replicas of the gorgeous pink dress. Even a suit worn by Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister and auctioned for $690,000, was compared to Monroe’s dress in 2015.

Monroe sings the song surrounded by well-dressed men

Monroe sings the song surrounded by well-dressed men

But there was only one Marilyn. William Travilla stated that no other actress could wear his pink dress like Monroe did because they would all look like they were wearing cardboard.

Read another story from us: Marilyn Monroe’s final home in Brentwood is now back on the market for $6.9 million

The shimmering piece of satin fit Monroe’s fabulous body perfectly, added Travilla. However, words aren’t enough to describe Monroe’s impact. Those who want to celebrate when cinematic history was written should consider watching Gentlemen Prefer Blondes or The Seven Years Itch and share in the sensation of the enchanting bombshell.