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Re-Imagining Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch

In this second Episode of Re-Imagining: Movie Icons, The Africa Channel and Vanichi reimagines a marvelous version of Marilyn Monroe’s subway stopping white halter dress.

The Marilyn Monroe Style

American actress Marilyn Monroe will always be known as the stunning, blonde bombshell of Hollywood. She was one of the prominent figures on America’s perception of femininity and female sexuality. Even though Marilyn is remembered for many roles, there is a role that forever remains an iconic highlight of the twentieth century.

The white Marilyn Monroe dress was the iconic look of the fifties where women dressed in conservative clothes. Even though there were some initial reactions causing some women to frown at Marilyn’s jaw-dropping fashion statement, labeling her a “hussy”, Monroe’s portrayal of The Girl in this romantic comedy helped awaken some women to their sexuality and sensuality as females.

Interestingly, women loved the “Marilyn Monroe Effect” on the opposite sex and in a bid to become sexy like Marilyn, started swapping their long skirts and buttoned up tops for plunging necklines, flared gowns, and shorter hemlines.

In The Seven Year Itch, the Marilyn Monroe Look is sexy, vibrant, confident, fun and sensual. All these qualities made Marilyn Monroe a fashion icon of femininity and sensuality.  The look includes a wardrobe of form-fitting dresses, sequined dresses, a white terry coat, and a pink pantsuit.

The White Dress or Subway Dress is the iconic look from Monroe that includes a Grecian styled ivory halter neck with accordion pleats. The dress is paired with nude sandal heels, button earrings, and Marilyn’s famous blond curls and signature red lipstick.

The look is at the same time sexy yet innocent, confident yet vulnerable. This dress became costume designer William Travilla’s favorite creation which would later be available for sale in the eighties.

In the film, Monroe stands above a subway grating that blows up the dress to reveal her thigh and underwear. This image is described as one of the iconic images of the 20th century.

The Model

Celisse Graves was overwhelmingly excited to reimagine the iconic Marilyn Monroe style. The photoshoot had her “smiling from ear to ear.” Marilyn Monroe is one of Celisse’s favorite iconic artists of all time, she eased right into her display of some of Marilyn’s iconic sensuality and confidence.

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Re-Imagining Marilyn Munroe

The reimagined look was a recreates an African Marilyn Monroe with a billowing halter dress in a subway of a popular African metropolis.

The Africanized look is a vibrant and feminine look of Celisse Graves wearing a tube Ankara pleated dress designed by Obioma. Obioma demonstrates their ability to fuse African traditional fabric with American and contemporary western design by creating an impressive pleated dress that is gorgeous and dare we say more vibrant that Marilyn’s white halter neck.

Celisse pairs the dress with a pair of stunning, emerald chandelier earrings, a pendant, and cocktail rings from Egyptian jewelry brand, Ammanii. She finishes off the look with the signature red lipstick and (of course!) curly blond wig.

All 10 episodes, plus a bonus overview, are currently available on The Africa and Demand Africa.