“Isn’t this delicious?” (said in my best Marilyn voice.)
When designer William Travilla first created his infamous “white” dress, he called it “that silly little dress.” Little did he know that his design would become the most replicated dress in fashion history.
Ironically, no one seems to get the copies right. According to Travilla, the dress was bone colored, not white. Dresses could not be shot in white because the production lights of the time made them look grey. The bow was tied to the left, not in the front like most replicas. And the fabric was a heavy acetate-crepe and not the cheap, thin fabric that you see on most Marilyn Monroe costumes. If you have ever had a Marilyn skirt blowing moment then you will understand what I mean….A heavy fabric billows. A light fabric blows straight up. (Just trust me on this one….I have had my share of Marilyn moments.)
Over time, the infamous dress from the Seven Year Itch darkened to an ecru color. The original was bone or ivory colored.
Standing over a subway grate on Lexington Ave and 52nd street, 5000 spectators turned out to watch Marilyn giggle at her wardrobe malfunction. Unfortunately, her then husband at the time, baseball legend Joe DiMaggio was not amused. When Marilyn got back to the hotel, Joe gave her an Italian sized beat down that put her out of work for a week. Marilyn filed for divorce shortly after. Despite the many dumb blonde clichés surrounding Marilyn, she was far from playing the fool in real life.
Marilyn's then husband, Joe Dimaggio was not a fan of the white dress.
Debbi Reynolds purchased the original dress for $200. At auction, it sold for 5.52M (minus the 1 million commission) in June 2011. Not bad for a silly little dress.