This week, Profiles in History announced “Essentially Marilyn: The Auction/The Exhibit.” The October auction will offer 15 costumes from Marilyn Monroe films. From the press release:
“Fifteen costumes worn by Marilyn Monroe will be on exhibit, including her yellow and black sequined showgirl costume from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, her signature white chiffon over white satin ball gown from The Prince and the Showgirl, her patterned sequined dress from How to Marry a Millionaire and the “Subway Dress” from The Seven Year Itch that was created by Bill Travilla, who made most of Marilyn’s costumes, for touring and exhibition purposes. It’s made to the exact specifications of his original 1955 design for the film.”
Seven Year Glitch?
Important point of note, the white halter dress up for auction is not the actual costume from the film. It’s a nearly exact replica of the original costume, made by designer William “Billy” Travilla himself. This costume replica was from his personal collection, and it was created in the 1960s for touring purposes only. See variations between the original dress (left) and the costume replica (right) below, particularly the placement of the bow at the waist.
Unfortunately, perhaps due to the wording of the press release description of the dress, fans and news outlets are under the impression this is the actual dress from the film.
This dress is actually the same costume replica sold by Profiles in History in 2010. Below is the listing from the auction catalog.
In 2011, Debbie Reynolds sold what is possibly an original costume from the film (also at Profiles in History). There were questions about the authenticity of that costume due to several discrepancies in its appearance, such as the length of the skirt, the width of the pleats, etc. I extensively analyzed the costume immediately following the auction. To view my blog posts on the costume sold in 2011, click on a link below: