Marilyn Monroe’s Personal Casual Summer Dress
An olive green double-ply silk jersey sleeveless dress; interior label reads: “Walter Bass/Design.”
Interestingly, stains and a slight discoloration are present under the arms on this dress, perhaps a result of being worn on hot New York summer days.
Marilyn’s Daywear: Marilyn being a native West Coast girl loved bright colors and easy sporty shapes when she wasn’t being “Marilyn Monroe” the film star. From the brilliantly-colored Capri pants, tight as a second skin, with matching easy shirts Marilyn bought in multiples, to her sporty little dresses, white shirts and chino pants from sportswear label Walter Bass, her daywear was a microcosm of East and West Coast American fashion from the mid-fifties to the early sixties.
This casual daywear dress represents Marilyn relaxed; she’d left the film star image at home and she was at play far from the fans, reading her books, studying her scripts or just hanging out. The design of this dress is so timeless it looks perfectly up to date today. Increasingly, as time went by, Marilyn wore brighter colors, cut into easier shapes than the hourglass dresses of her early years as an emerging film star. She could afford to look, and be, relaxed in fine cotton drill and gabardine and lightweight wools. The very ordinariness of this dress meant that she could walk the streets of New York or L.A. without being recognized.
This dress was to have been sold originally at the 1999 Christie’s Auction: The Personal Property of Marilyn Monroe, and is prominently displayed on page 105 of the auction catalog as part of lot #132. Two Christie’s tags are still pinned to the garment. Ultimately, this Marilyn Monroe dress sold at the 2005 Julien’s Auction: Property from The Estate of Marilyn Monroe.
Christie’s New York: The Personal Property of Marilyn Monroe, October 27-28, 1999. Click here to buy your copy of the Christie’s auction catalog for the sale of Marilyn Monroe’s personal items.
Secondary: Julien’s Auctions: Property from the Estate of Marilyn Monroe, June 4, 2005