Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Seeing


History Lesson: Marilyn Monroe


I was watching the movie My Week With Marilyn a few weeks back and realized how little I actually know about the bombshell leading lady. She is, in fact, from an era long before our time (unless you were born before 1962).

Born Norma Jeane Mortenson in 1926 to an absent father and a mentally and financially unstable mother, Marilyn spent her childhood in various foster homes in the Los Angeles area. In order to prevent her from going back into the foster care system, in 1942 Marilyn married her then current boyfriend, James Dougherty, as her first of three marriages.

She began modeling while her husband was off at war, and dyed her natural brunette locks to her signature golden blonde. She caught the attention of a Twentieth Century Fox executive, who suggested changing her name to a more "sexy" and alliterative Marilyn Monroe. She and her husband divorced and shortly after in 1947, she landed her first small film role.

Marilyn quickly gained popularity among both producers and the public and continued her upward rise to fame in Hollywood. She starred in a number of big hit films that portrayed her as a "dumb blonde," catapulting her success as a comedienne and sex symbol. Her most notable films included How to Marry a Millionaire, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (in which she sang "Diamond's are a Girl's Best Friend"), The Seven Year Itch, Some Like it Hot, and The Prince and the Showgirl. She was briefly married to Joe DeMaggio in 1954, and then married playwright Arthur Miller in 1956.

While Marilyn's life seemed to be teeming with success and grandiose parties, there was an underlying negativity that pervaded her personal life and eventually lead to her death. She proved to be a rather difficult actress to work with, often having fits of stage fright and showing up late or not at all. In The Prince and the Showgirl, costar and director Laurence Olivier remarked that although Marilyn was quite the stunning actress, she was rather difficult to work with.

Despite winning an Academy Award for Some Like It Hot, Marilyn's health deteriorated and she began consuming large amounts of alcohol and seeing many different doctors to have access to a number of drugs. She and Arthur Miller divorced in 1961, and shortly after she spent some time in rehab facilities. On August 5, 1962, Marilyn was pronounced dead at her home in Los Angeles, with an autopsy confirming the death was due to acute drug poisoning and a probable suicide. She was 36 years old.

I put together a look based off the famous photo of her wearing a white plunge v-neck dress with the street vents blowing up the dress- yes, you know the one. Modern and classic at the same time, and with plenty of pretty baubles. It's perfect for a night of club hopping in Hollywood dodging paparazzi-  or just drinks with the girls. Don't forget the red lipstick!



//Image source//

Monday, July 2, 2012

Designer Spotlight: Missoni

Known for their vast collections of knits bearing bold geometric patterns in an endless array of colors, the dynastic Italian fashion house Missoni is one of the world’s most influential and innovative brands. The empire is currently headed in Milan by the second generation of Missonis, and staffed additionally by the third generation, furthering not only the brand but also the jet-setting and forward style the founders fashioned so masterfully.

In a nutshell, it all began with in London with an uncomplicated love story. Ottavio Missoni, an athlete on the Italian National Track team, was competing in the summer 1948 Olympics in London while Rosita Jelmini, also from Italy, was there to perfect her knowledge of the English language. In short, the two married five years later. In the same year, the two set up a small knitwear workshop, following in the steps of Rosita’s family.

The 1960’s were a significant time of expansion and recognition for the Missonis, whose dresses began to gradually appear in fashion magazines, leading the way with dresses in endless patterns inspired by Art Deco. They moved into a larger workshop and perfected the rayon-viscose fabric blend that would eventually become their iconic favorite.

Today, the power designing couple has handed the reigns of the fashion house to their three children Vittorio, Luca, and Angela, who took the place of her mother as creative director. Angela's daughter, Margherita, serves as the accessories designer and unofficial muse.

The Missonis, with their wholesome looks and values, have served as one of the foremost fashion houses for almost sixty years. Their beautiful graphic and iconic prints have certainly made their mark in both fashion and graphic design history.


Image Sources: Left- Resort 2012; Angela, Rosita, and Margherita at Missoni for Target; SS 2009 campaign; Missoni at the Museum of Everything; Right- Camilla Belle at Missoni for Target; vintage ad campaign, Ottavio and Margherita