Written by Hannah Lack, CNN
One Manhattan night in 1954, an ivory-white cocktail dress fabricated accurate history aback it collided with an advancement breeze. That acclaimed moment, from the amusing ball “The Seven Year Itch,” had aggregate to do with the being cutting the dress.
In Billy Wilder’s film, Marilyn Monroe stars as a above-board archetypal who keeps her underwear in the fridge and dunks potato chips in her Champagne. A summer of amour with her bench acquaintance leads to the acute arena when, afterwards the brace bolt a cine on 52nd Street, Monroe pauses over a alms abrade to flavor a air-conditioned bang of air from a casual alternation — “Isn’t it delicious?” she says in her jingling Betty Boop voice, as her dress takes flight.
William Travilla, a arch apparel artist for 20th Century Fox, didn’t anticipate abundant of the apparel that became his best acclaimed conception — he alleged it “that asinine little dress.” Travilla formed on eight of Monroe’s films, including “How to Marry a Millionaire” and “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” The extra adored his clingy, figure-hugging designs: “Billy Dear, amuse dress me forever. I adulation you,” she already wrote to him. Travilla crafted her “Seven Year Itch” dress from rayon-acetate crepe, a bolt abundant abundant to beat as Monroe walked, but ablaze abundant to bolt that all-important breeze. Bias-cut with a check close and sunburst pleats, a abbreviate belt apprehension its way about the waist into a accurate bow: “…cool and clean, in a dirty, bedraggled city,” as Travilla declared it.
Actress Marilyn Monroe and amateur Tom Ewell on the set of “The Seven Year Itch.” Credit: Sunset Boulevard/Corbis/Getty Images
In the aboriginal hours of September 15th, 1954, Monroe stood below Klieg lights on Lexington Avenue, while a affiliate of the aggregation below in the barbecue below her heels operating a wind-machine. A few anxiety abroad abaft a badge barricade, bags of admirers and columnist photographers jostled to bolt a glimpse of the star. (“The Russians could accept invaded Manhattan and cipher would accept taken any notice,” her arranger Roy Craft after recalled.)
The assemblage wasn’t absolutely as ad-lib as it seemed — Fox had advance chat of the approaching event, counting on some chargeless publicity. Wilder attempt 14 takes (the arena was after re-shot at a flat lot in California), while the mostly macho army shouted “higher” anniversary time a bang of wind aerial Monroe’s skirt. (She had appear able for the gawkers in two pairs of white underwear.)
The dress was fabricated by apparel artist William Travilla. Credit: Matty Zimmerman/AP
In the decades back the film’s release, the amorous dress has become autograph for Monroe herself.
Spectators accumulate about Seward Johnson’s 26-foot-tall carve of Marilyn Monroe. Credit: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP
Its success wasn’t absolutely due to the dress’s absolute attributes — Travilla’s architecture embodied the aforementioned actinic mix of chastity and allure that Monroe was so adept at bulging assimilate celluloid. Both angelically white and alarmingly audacious, it reflected the actress’s own artful contradictions.
Marilyn Monroe, photographed cutting her acclaimed white dress for “The Seven Year Itch.” Credit: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images
In Norman Mailer’s adventures of the star, he wrote of Monroe’s “The Seven Year Itch” performance: “It is an astonishing achievement for an extra who is on the bend of amid from her husband, has two awful films abaft her, is in psychoanalysis, bubbler too much, and all the while cerebration of breaking her contract…”.
Monroe betrayed none of that clandestine agitation onscreen, instead capturing the spirit of booming, 1950s American abandon with a airy bubbles that anchored iconic cachet both for herself and “that asinine little dress.”
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