c1953 Travilla "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" Purple Silk Dress

During the 1940s William Travilla solely designed for the movies and many of the most iconic dresses from this time period, worn by some of the biggest stars, were created by him. By 1953 he had started to also design for the public as demand for the dresses women were seeing on the big screen increased. By the 1950s he was close friends with Marilyn Monroe and did the costumes for a series of her movies including "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" in 1953. In that movie Marilyn wears a pink silk gown in the role of her character, Lorelei Lee, in the famous sequence in which the actress sings the song "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend". Though this dress is obviously not that exact dress, it is most likely a one-off made by request of some woman at the time who went to Travilla to re-create that look. Travilla would have been doing most of the work by hand at the time and indeed this dress is mainly finished by hand and can be considered demi-couture. This version is made of a purple silk and has most of the same lines as its inspiration - it is a strapless and floor-length with the neckline cut straight across and folds running down each side of the bodice. The waist is nipped in and the skirt falls in a straight column to the floor. At the back the fabric wraps over itself and above the waist is the suggestion of a large half bow in the same shade as the dress. This version has straps but they could easily be tucked in to wear it strapless. A trim of velvet running across the edge of the bodice is the perfect finish. Excellent condition.

The bodice is lined in a heavier silk and it is boned and shaped. The skirt is lined in a fine purple silk. It closes with a handset back zipper. Hand finishes and ribbon finished hem.

Bust: 16.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 12.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 18.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 14.5" from shoulder strap to waist
Skirt: 42.5" from waist to hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-SML


Reference Photo: Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1953.

This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.

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