Marilyn Monroe’s Personal Pucci Blouse
From the 1999 Christie’s Auction, The Personal Property of Marilyn Monroe, a lime green, long-sleeved boat neck Pucci blouse of silk jersey, size 14, label reads, “Emilio Pucci / Florence Italy” and “Made in Italy exclusively for Saks Fifth Avenue.”
This Pucci blouse is noteworthy and significant in Marilyn’s life for two reasons:
1) The JFK Birthday Gala: This is the blouse Marilyn wore when rehearsing for what is now known as her most famous public appearance: Her performance of “Happy Birthday Mr. President” for President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden on May 19, 1962.
2) The Final Weekend of Marilyn’s Life: This is the blouse Marilyn was wearing when the last photos of her alive were taken the weekend of July 28 & 29, 1962, at the Cal-Neva Lodge in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
Marilyn Monroe’s Lime Green Pucci Blouse:
May 19, 1962: ”Happy Birthday Mr. President”
American Politics and Hollywood crossed paths in a way not seen before or since when the reigning queen of the silver screen, Marilyn Monroe, sang Happy Birthday to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden wearing a sheer gown embellished with thousands of crystal beads. Marilyn rehearsed for her performance wearing this Pucci blouse. The rehearsal was captured on film, and video footage captures her returning to her East 57th Street apartment after the rehearsal wearing this blouse. Footage also captures Marilyn leaving her apartment later in the day, still wearing this Pucci. The photo collage below shows Marilyn rehearsing, along with screenshots from the actual performance.
Cal-Neva Lodge, the Lake Tahoe resort named after its location on the border between California and Nevada, was owned by Frank Sinatra and, allegedly, Mafia boss Sam Giancana.
The images below show Marilyn at Cal-Neva the weekend of July 28 and 29, 1962. Buddy Greco, a jazz pianist, now 82, who was at Cal-Neva that weekend performing with Frank Sinatra, remembers Marilyn being in ‘good spirits’ towards the start of the weekend but later being ‘out of sorts’. Mafia boss Sam Giancana, her former husband and baseball player Joe DiMaggio, as well as Dean Martin, were all on the trip, the pianist said.
‘I remember it was a wonderful weekend. Marilyn turned up wearing a green scarf, green shoes, green slacks and a green blouse, and looking just wonderful. She turned up in a limousine and put her arms around me. I was very lucky my manager was there to take the photographs.’
Cal-Neva Lodge is highlighted in nearly all accounts of the last week of Marilyn’s life. Depending on the biographer, Marilyn either spent the weekend of July 28 and 29 in a drug and drink induced state, went there and attempted suicide, stayed as a guest of the Lawfords, had sex with Giancana, had a quiet weekend reunion with Joe DiMaggio, or, never went there at all and the story of her attendance was merely a cover-up for a secret abortion.
The photos below, the last ever images taken of Marilyn alive, show her wearing this lime green Pucci blouse.
History does not relate when Marilyn discovered the brilliant colors and easy shapes of the Italian house of Pucci. Founded in 1947 by Emilio Pucci, scion of a venerable Italian Florentine family, the first designs Pucci made were for skiwear, which is hardly surprising as he was a member of the Italian Olympic ski team. From the first jewel colored prints, inspired by motifs from the Italian Renaissance, to the ultimate simplicity of little silk jersey shifts, Pucci was one of the hottest looks of the early sixties.
Marilyn collected Pucci items in multiples; if she didn’t have a dress in every color, she certainly had one in every other shade. She favored a palette of flesh tones, of leafy greens or of shocking pinks and mauves with occasional excursions into deep blues. Unlike her ‘working’ daytime wardrobe, which was predominantly black, these were clothes for Marilyn to play in, and by the beginning of the sixties had replaced the natural colored chambrays, the capri pants and matching shirts she had worn throughout the mid to late fifties. Looking at Marilyn’s Pucci wardrobe today, it is astonishing how contemporary it seems; the feather light dresses cut as simply as T-shirts; the silk shirts in brilliant colored jewel prints, designed to be worn, as Marilyn did with simple white pants or with jeans, are of today, not of yesterday.
Marilyn is said to have been buried in the green Pucci dress she wore while in Mexico in February, 1962, shown below.
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.