Marilyn Monroe’s on-screen costumes are almost as iconic as her. Think of the hot pink strapless gown she wore to sing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” Or the white halter cocktail dress that billowed up over a subway grate in “The Seven Year Itch.”
They have been recreated, reimagined and referenced many, many times, from big budget movies and music videos down to cheap costume stores and everything in between. The white subway dress she wore for the scene fetched $4.6 million at auction in 2011 and several years later the “touring” replica went for $120,000. Suffice it to say, “ Blonde ” costume designer Jennifer Johnson felt an enormous amount of pressure to get the dresses that we all know so well right for the Netflix film, streaming Wednesday.
While “Blonde” may be a fictionalized version of Monroe’s story, the costumes are ripped from reality. The vast majority of the frocks star Ana de Armas wears in the film as Monroe are recreations that Johnson and her team had to make without
the actual reference garment on hand. In fact, the only Monroe item she was able to study in real life, a jacket from the film “Niagara” that is kept at Western Costume in Los Angeles, did not make the cut.