Friday 17 December 2010

marilyn in a tutu

Marilyn Monroe, Ballerina Sitting, 1954, New York City

I adore this tulle wrapped Marilyn..

It was 9 September, 1954 when Marilyn Monroe, in New York to film  The Seven Year Itch, arrived at fashion photographer  Milton H. Greene’s studio to sit for a series of portraits that would juxtapose the starlet with an unadorned wicker chair. Greene’s pictures had appeared in Vogue, Life and Harpers Bazaar and he eventually became Monroe’s business partner. His sensitivity and boyish charm were the ideal antidote to Monroe’s insecurity and neediness and, in front of his lens, she was candid and relaxed.

He’d ordered a white dress from designer  Anne Klein for the shoot, but the tutu’s bodice was too tight. Instead of scrapping it Monroe held herself in the tutu, creating the famous ‘ballerina’ portraits that conjure up a sense of bittersweet fragility, sensual innocence and a whiff of Hollywood heartbreak.

Unlike Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor, Monroe never studied ballet (she admitted to struggling with choreography, particularly in  Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) but the transformative power of the tutu rendered the photographs emblematic of ballet and dance. In Milton’s Marilyn: The Photographs of Milton H. Greene, author James Kotsilibas-Davis says the poignant images “became more generic portraits of a dancer to challenge even the sketches of Degas”.

{Image Marilyn Monroe. Photography by Milton H. Greene, Text reposted from via behind ballet}

 

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