Bonhams : A Marilyn Monroe suit from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
A Marilyn Monroe suit from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

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Lot 207
A Marilyn Monroe suit from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Sold for US$ 425,000 inc. premium
A Marilyn Monroe suit from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Twentieth Century-Fox, 1953. Gray wool jacket with cream-colored embroidered linen collar, wired so that it stands, hook-and-eye and black button closure at the center, fitted at the hips, with partial gray crepe lining; together with a matching knee-length pencil skirt with a navy grosgrain waistband and buttons that attach to the jacket (to prevent the skirt from moving when Monroe danced), and a small slit in the back, bearing a bias label inscribed in black ink, "1-69-1194 M. Monroe A-698-40." Monroe, as Lorelei Lee, wears this suit when she and Dorothy (Jane Russell) go shopping in Paris, the hotel refuses them, and they wind up at a sidewalk café, singing "When Love Goes Wrong."
Provenance: Purchased by Debbie Reynolds from Fox in 1971; Butterfield & Butterfield, Entertainment Memorabilia, March 14, 2000, lot 5842.
A 1949 musical based on a novel by Anita Loos, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was initially purchased by Fox as a vehicle for Betty Grable. However in light of Grable's waning popularity and comparatively high salary (almost ten times Monroe's), studio head Darryl Zanuck decided to cast the starlet Monroe instead, borrowing Jane Russell from RKO to serve as her costar. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was a massive success and 1953 became Monroe's breakout year. She and Jane Russell put their handprints in cement at Grauman's Chinese Theater to celebrate the film's premiere, Monroe appeared on the cover of Photoplay and received its Fastest Rising Star award, and also appeared on the cover of the inaugural issue of Playboy.
A report by leading costume conservator Cara Varnell is available upon request.
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A Marilyn Monroe suit from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
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