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William Travilla is one of the best costume designers of all time and Marilyn Monroe his most famous client. Dressing Marilyn: How a Hollywood Icon Was Styled by William Travilla focuses on the striking dresses that Travilla designed for Marilyn, from his early work on the thriller Don't Bother to Knock and the gorgeous pink dress in which Marilyn sang "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" to the legendary white dress from The Seven Year Itch, which arguably contributed to the collapse of Marilyn's marriage to Joe DiMaggio. Featuring Travilla's original sketches, rare costume test shots, dress patterns, photographs of Marilyn wearing the dresses, plus exclusive and never-before-seen extracts from interviews with Travilla, this book offers a fresh insight into the golden age of Hollywood.
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Andrew Hansford manages Travilla's archive and was responsible for the 2008 Travilla exhibition. He has lectured to fashion students on Travilla and his work.Review:
It's difficult to find a new way to examine an iconic figure, especially one as popular as Marilyn Monroe, but Dressing Marilyn by Andrew Hansford manages to do precisely that. In cataloging the costumes created for Monroe by designer William Travilla, Dressing Marilyn brings together rare photographs, sketches, and interviews in a book that will be of interest not only to tried-and-true fans, but to fashion aficionados as well. Monroe's iconic clothing is such that just reading Hansford s table of contents which includes the chapters The Red Dress, The Gold Dress, The Pink Dress, and The White Dress is enough to conjure the garments to which he's referring; images immediately pop to mind. The narrative is two-fold: there's the story of Marilyn's clothes and the story of her relationship with Travilla, the man who made them. It's a fascinating new angle on Monroe, who has always been more famous for the body her clothes were (barely) covering than for her fashion sense. Despite their iconicity, her clothes haven't been associated with a particular designer, a circumstance that comes in great contrast to many of the stars of the time. Audrey Hepburn and Hubert Givenchy, Grace Kelly and Edith Head, and even Jacqueline Kennedy and Oleg Cassini all famously had long-term collaborations. Dressing Marilyn goes a long way toward filling that gap in Monroe's history detailing the friendship that arose between William Travilla and Monroe during the decade that he dressed her. Perhaps the most fascinating element of Dressing Marilyn is the attention to the details of the clothes themselves, thus the need for entire chapters on single dresses. The chapter on the The Pink Dress from Gentleman Prefer Blondes, for instance, includes images of a fabric swatch, an early sketch featuring black gloves, a later sketch with the pink gloves that were ultimately used, and most uniquely close-ups on the details of the dress itself, including the bow, the belt, and the back closure. An entire half-page is dedicated to a photograph illustrating the invisible wire that held the enormous bow in place. It's this attention to detail that sets Dressing Marilyn apart from the scores of photography books about her and makes it a must read, especially for the style savvy. --ForeWord Magazine
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