Dressing Marilyn Monroe


Guest blogger: Andrew Hansford, author of Dressing Marilyn (Applause Books)


I was very nervous when it came to writing ‘Dressing Marilyn’. Marilyn Monroe has a huge following and I wanted to make sure I did her justice.  Everyone has their opinions of Marilyn and they change dramatically. However I met some amazing people along the way who made the process very enjoyable.

William Travilla and Marilyn Monroe made an incredible team, the star of the silver screen and the genius of Travilla culminated in some of the most recognised costume in cinematic history. Everyone knows his dresses but very few know him, he hated publicity, saying on more than one occasion I am a designer not a celebrity.

Their partnership was one of total trust, he knew exactly how to dress her, she never questioned his opinions, including when designing the costumes for ‘The seven Year Itch’, she did not even want to see the sketches beforehand she knew he would make her beautiful. And we all know what that movie did for her stardom. He pushed the limit of the sensors by dressing Marilyn in the most seductive way without showing a thing. His designs were a labour of love and knew exactly how the world needed to see her. He is the man who made Marilyn Monroe the screen legend we all see today.

Never has a partnership lasted the test of time, Marilyn still the most talked about, copied and written about star and Travilla the man who dressed her and what dresses are so often desired or copied? All of his!!

This book turned into a labour of love and I hope and pray that everyone associated with Travilla and Marilyn are happy and proud of the result.

Dressing Marilyn: How a Hollywood Icon Was Styled by William Travilla by Andrew Hansford (Applause Books)

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 thrillerDon’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. Available from Amazon.com, B&N, independent bookstores, and ApplauseBooks.com.


Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the trade book division of Hal Leonard Corporations, publishes books on the performing arts under the imprints Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Amadeus Press, and Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

Posted on April 3, 2012, in Film & TV and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I got given Dressing Marilyn for my birthday – I love Marilyn Monroe! The book has given me an insight into the amazing dresses she wore and the beautiful illustrations of Travilla. I’m yet to read it al, but look forward to doing so.

  2. For anyone who is London and loves Marilyn read on WUWO Magazine-> http://www.whatsupwhatson.com/marilyn-monroe/…. Ohhh… so lovely!

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