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Some Like It Print: Marilyn Monroe in Pucci

From about 1960, Marilyn Monroe seemed to favour designs created by Emilio Pucci; many photographs, portraying the actress in both public and private moments, show how the encounter between the creation of the marquis with the body – and soul – of the iconic actress defined the image of the celebrity in some of her most unforgettable looks.

Marilyn Monroe wearing an orange blouse by Pucci, Courtesy Pucci Archive, All Rights Reserved

A personal property auction, held by Christie’s New York in 1999, is a prove of the liaison of the actress with Pucci and, more generally, with his ‘idea’ of fashion. In the catalogue, a section accounts for her Pucci clothes, featuring seventeen dresses, nine blouses, two tailleurs and other accessories, such as handbags. Marilyn can be seen wearing many of these items in the beautiful photos taken by George Barris during one of her last photo shoots in July 1962. It’s appropriate then, she is said to be buried in her favorite leaf green shift Pucci dress.

The reason why Marilyn loved Pucci’s designs appears as quite understandable: the very character of Pucci designs fits with Marilyn multifaceted personality and life. Her many complexities and inner contrasts – her flamboyant femininity, her great sensitivity, her simplicity and the ‘diva factor’ – seem to go alongside the variety of designs produced by the Marquis Emilio Pucci: from kaleidoscopic and recognisable prints, to more simple and comfortable jersey ensembles. Marilyn seemed to prefer the monochromes, in the tones of green, pink, orange and blue, above all for her everyday. Prints and patterns are showcased in more ‘public’ moments and photo shootings, such as the shot by photographer George Barris in 1962.

Marilyn Monroe wearing a blouse by Pucci with the 'Specchi' print, Courtesy Pucci Archive, All Rights Reserved

Some items hold significance since are linked to some of the most wide known moments of the public life of the actress. For example, a green blouse was worn by Marilyn while rehearsing for the JFK Birthday Gala, where she performed her infamous version of “Happy Birthday Mr. President”, at Madison Square Garden on May 19, 1962. It is said that this is also the blouse the actress used during the final weekend of her life, at the Cal-Neva Lodge in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

Specchio della Stampa - Article featuring Pucci designs, Courtesy Pucci Archive, All Rights Reserved

It is also said that Marilyn wanted to be buried in Pucci; she is in fact said to be buried in a leaf green Pucci dress. The story became almost a myth, which inspired an exhibition hold at Moore College of Art & Design, Philadelphia in 2009: a mixed-media showcase by artist Devon Dikeou, which reflected on the image of Marilyn, considering also the ‘objects’ that contributed to the construction of the icon.

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