The talk of the town is Blonde, starring Ana de Armas & directed by Andrew Dominik. While there’s so much style to write about outside of this film & despite the controversy surrounding the film’s NC-17-rated scenes, I’m a little obsessed with it.
Ana’s performance is immaculate & most critics agreed that she is luminous. Recently, the actress shared her experience preparing for the role, as well as the famed “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” dance number from Marilyn Monroe’s 1953 smash hit Gentleman Prefer Blondes.
View the video below, along with Ana’s version for Blonde & the original performance that’s been copied by so many movies, television shows, music videos, & other performances in recent decades.
For this post, I’m putting on my academician & literati hat…
I read Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates in 2010, out of my urgent love for Oates’ chilling writing & adoration of Marilyn Monroe as a fashion icon & screen legend. Knowing that the book was, in fact, marketed & labeled as a fictional biography, I voluntarily stepped into Oates’ well-researched & mystifying gaze upon Monroe’s troubled & glitzy life. By the time I finished the book, my heart sunk deeply into a place of grief for another version of the life of Hollywood’s most iconic of bombshells, ending in solemn tragedy, the same feeling I recognized from HBO’s Norma Jean & Marilyn (1996) & then later with My Week with Marilyn (2011), as well as Netflix’s documentary The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes (2022), HBO’s documentary Love, Marilyn (2012), & Lifetime’s The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe (2015).
No matter the avenue by which a viewer enters the memory of Monroe, the outcome is always the same; at first, I suspected that Oates’ Blonde offered a revisionist hope, but by the end, that remains unattained because Monroe does die & never gets her glorious victory. That’s a blunt reality that can’t be changed, even if the fictional road to her demise is illustrated with fearless creative license.
However, not long after completing Oates’ novel, I started freelancing for Movie Buzzers, & the one bit of film news to have followed me from that era of my life has finally come to fruition with director Andrew Dominik’s interpretation of Oates’ heralded fiction, which has come under fire with deeply scathing criticism, after its long-awaited premiere.
Having read the book & nearly every major review of the controversial film, I stand firm in stating that Dominik serves Oates well. That’s not to say that the film is perfect, but it’s a loyal depiction of another artist’s depiction, & yes, these are depictions of a real woman—one who is still very much relevant at the forefront of the media 60 years after her death. These days, headlines about Monroe are less about her films & more about her experiences through the lens of the media & paparazzi. No matter the screen size, big or small, Monroe’s legacy is fraught with exploitation. Dominik serves one more example, albeit an explicit & unapologetic vision, that won’t victimize her more than she already was, especially as unauthorized biopics & mini series about other celebrities—who are still alive & vocal about their disapproval for such interpretations—are made by those with enough money to not care, consumed by the public, & awarded by the industry (see: Pam & Tommy).
The NC-17 rating for Blonde is a justified warning the audience chooses to join when streaming the film on Netflix; therefore, they should expect the unexpected. The sex is graphic. The nudity is excessive. The abuse is gutting. The fetuses—yes, plural—are unnecessary, but overall, vehicles that reinforce the myth of who the woman underneath the platinum persona was. Marilyn Monroe is a myth that killed Norma Jean Baker—that is Dominik & Oates’ story.
In addition, Ana de Armas, recognizable accent & all, is mesmerizing, even in tears, on a stage, when victimized, opposite her lovers, when nude, in a drug-induced hysteria, & when joyous. de Armas embodies Oates’ Monroe, spitting out every ugly side of a male-dominated, vicious Hollywood back at the audience. Moreover, de Armas conquers the demands of the role, sure to garner her an Oscar nomination.
The shifts from color to black & white are confusing, but it’s wiser to go with it than question it, in order to immerse the audience in the imagery that made Monroe sparkle & dimmed her at the same time.
The costumes, hair, & makeup are identical & uncanny to Monroe’s most gorgeous, provocative, & vulnerable moments captured on film & through photographs.
Ultimately, if your hope is to enjoy Blonde, do your research first to not only understand the source material, but the context in which Monroe lived. Do I recommend this film? Not to every one. However, there are far more shocking & formulaic forms of entertainment about fantastical lands with their own crude, misogynistic mythologies that the masses flock to. If you appreciate cinematic artistry that pushes boundaries, watch Blonde. If everything you’ve heard about it makes you pause, move on.
Also, read Oates’ short story “Three Girls” to see how the author focuses on Monroe in a shorter, more validating & charming fictional work that I’d love to see find its way to the big screen.
View the trailer & other videos about Blonde below. Happy Styling!
When I learned that Golden Globe-nominated actress Ana de Armas had arrived in Venice, I was so excited to refresh my feeds to see what the Cuban star would wear to the highly-anticipated premiere of her controversial film, Blonde, where she stars as Marilyn Monroe. Naturally, her red carpet look would be elegant & stunning, but also, I wondered if & how the gown would represent the bombshell icon at the center of the film.
In a bright pink pleated gown with a deep-v by Louis Vuitton, Ana graced the red carpet in true Hollywood fashion. Her gentle waves & sophisticated jewelry by Messika hearken to an era of glamour & ease that offers a refreshing twist on Barbiecore.
Additionally, the hue pays homage to Marilyn’s signature pink from her “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” musical sequence in the 1949 film Gentleman Prefer Blondes; likewise, the halter & pleated look of Ana’s dress are reminiscent of the iconic subway grate scene in The Seven Year Itch from 1955.
Escorted to the premiere by one of the film’s producers, Brad Pitt, Ana shines, which is no surprise. I hope this marks the beginning of an exciting & stylish press tour for the 2 hour 46-minute film that’s rated NC-17 & is based on the disorienting evocative fictional biography by Joyce Carol Oates that begins streaming on Netflix on September 28th, especially leading up to awards season!
Everyone is talking about Blonde, the new Netflix portrayal of the one & only, Marilyn Monroe, played by Cuban superstar Ana de Armas the full, official trailer was finally released after a teaser trailer & slew of breathtaking images that truly bring Monroe to life on screen in a way that’s always been attempted by previous interpretations of the bombshell’s life, career, & relationships.
Also in the film, Bobby Cannavale stars as Joe DiMaggio, Adrien Brody as Arthur Miller, & Garrett Dillahunt as President John F. Kennedy. Check out all of the below images to see more of what’s to come in this awards-magnet film:
Even if you’re not a fan of the Kardashian-Jenner empire, you can’t deny the impact that the 5 sisters (Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, Kendall, & Kylie) have had on social media, fashion, beauty, & pop culture. Most recently, Kim Kardashian is the star of Allure‘s August 2022 cover, where she speaks with writer Danielle Pergament, getting real about her career & family goals, the public’s perception of her, beauty standards, & her commitment to her beauty regimen with her recently launched nine-step skincare line SKKN by Kim. Along with the article, the images are photographed by Danielle Levitt, featuring Kim decked out in long blonde hair & styled by Kyle Luu with pieces from Skims, Alaia, Bulgari, Paris Texas, Schiaparelli Haute Couture, & Jimmy Choo.
Kim states, “There are so many different beauty standards — whether it’s Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Lopez, Marilyn Monroe. When I was a teenager, [the look] was just blonde waifs…My mentality was…always: Be yourself, find beauty in everything.”
On the media’s perception of her success & intelligence, Kim shares, “I think I’ve always just been the underdog…Being on a reality show and that’s not respected…Feeling like I need to work harder to show you guys that I’m not the person you think.” The aspiring lawyer also adds, “It would be amazing to retire being Kim K and just be a lawyer. But if it all went away, I would be just as happy…“I would want people to walk away and be like, ‘She was a good person, and she did some good things.’”
Check out the video below from Allure, where Kim answers questions about beauty:
Gwyneth Paltrow has done it all. She’s won an Academy Award. She’s a working mom & celebrated lifestyle guru (for goop.com). She’s a designer’s darling, always on the best dressed lists. She never fails to make us envious of her effortless glamour. And now… she is making headlines for her latest collaboration it beauty brand, Max Factor, in a new ad campaign, featuring the actress undergoing a high glamour Old Hollywood makeover, á la Marilyn Monroe with a modern twist.
The Oscar-winner has starred in previous campaigns for the cosmetics company, recalling stylish & vintage decades from the 50s to the 80s, inspired by icons like Brigette Bardot, Audrey Hepburn, Madonna, & Farah Fawcett. This behind-the-scenes look at the photo shoot, courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar UK, shares Gwyneth’s thoughts on blending her personal style with the brand’s signature pink lipstick.
As many of you already know, I’m a huge Marilyn Monroe fan & it just came to my attention this afternoon that HBO is premiering a documentary about the actress whose personal journals & letters are narrating the deep, inner workings of her life. As a fan of her work, style, & a writer myself, I am so excited to see this documentary, which features appearances by some of Hollywood’s A-listers, lending their voice to Marilyn’s haunting, hopeful, & powerful words. This includes Uma Thurman, Evan Rachel Wood, Lindsay Lohan, Elizabeth Banks, & countless others. Take a look at the trailer below & tune in to HBO for what’s sure to be a compelling & intimate portrait of America’s most influential sex symbol.
Chanel should’ve rethought their whole campaign for their legendary fragrance, Chanel No. 5, especially since Brad Pitt’s lackluster black & white monologue has fallen short its $7 million price tag. I was lucky enough to spot this video of never been seen footage & audio of the one & only, Marilyn Monroe, talking about her love of the fragrance, which is a much better & sexier way to talk about the classic scent. Not to mention that she’s famously quoted, when asked “What do you wear to bed?,” with answer “Chanel No. 5.” For all your lovers of MM & vintage style, get a load of this really cool video & share it with your Style Darlings! Happy Styling!
Mariah Carey has been in the news a whole lot lately, now that the Grammy-winning singer is the newest judge to join American Idol, as well as releasing her latest single, “Triumphant,” from her forthcoming fourteenth studio album. However, I thought I’d take a look back at some of my favorite videos by the New York native since she’s one of the biggest selling artists in my lifetime.
Not only do she & I share a love for Marilyn Monroe & Hello Kitty, but she’s constantly trying to show off her bombshell style, even though some attempts are very pageant-ish & don’t make the best dressed lists. When it comes to music, Mariah knows what works for her & I’d like to take a moment to celebrate her accomplishments via my favorite music videos (for their style & songs)! This list includes “We Belong Together,” “Don’t Forget About Us,” “I Still Believe,” “Heartbreaker,” & “Always Be My Baby.”
I’d also like to add that I picked “We Belong Together,” which is my all-time favorite Mariah song, also b/c I think that whoever was responsible for her hair & makeup really nailed her look with elegance & femininity. The dewy pink lips, fluffy & old school lashes, & natural overall look really make the video one of the most memorable for me, which juxtapose (yes, I used that word) the scenes when she’s wearing lingerie, a tunic mini, & princess-like wedding gown. Happy Styling!
I’m loving watching the pilot episode of Smash, starring Katharine McPhee as an aspiring Broadway actress. She’s one of my favorite American Idol finalists & I couldn’t wait to see how she was going to handle such a demanding role on the new NBC musical drama. The show focuses on the upstart of a new musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe (of course, you know I’m all over this!) & I found a link on YouTube of the full pilot episode. If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at the video below! Also, I’ve included the video for Katharine McPhee singing Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.” Happy Styling!
During this week’s episode of Gossip Girl, the show celebrated its 100th episode of upper East side luxury with a tribute to Marilyn Monroe‘s famous song “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend.” Serena, played by Blake Lively, starred in her own dream sequence, recreating the dance number, featuring the male cast, as well as a cameo from Blair herself, played by Leighton Meester, paying tribute to the more demure & classic style icon, Audrey Hepburn. It took a few days for me to finally find a video of the scene, but I have it here for my Style Darlings. Also, if you’d like to compare it to the original, there’s also video of Marilyn’s version, something every gal should see! Happy Styling!
Aside from the obviously fabulous sales this Black Friday weekend, one of the most anticipated movies of the year was released on Wednesday, My Week with Marilyn, starring Michelle Williams. I won’t really be able to see the movie until Sunday, but I can’t wait! I found this exciting clip on YouTube which includes some behind-the-scenes juice on the development of the story, Michelle’s interpretation of Monroe, & more behind the Oscar-buzzing film! Take a look & share your thoughts! Happy Styling!
This is an emergency style post! I had the pleasure of finding out that the official trailer for My Week with Marilyn is out & ready for viewing! The film stars two-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams as the troubled starlet in London, who films The Prince & the Showgirl in 1957, opposite Sir Laurence Olivier (also movie’s director too!).
The movie doesn’t come out until November 4th, but I’ve been salivating over every last detail about the production of this sure-to-be awards season darling! To read more about the movie, check out my Silver Screen Style post which includes a movie poster, promotional image, & several stills from the movie. Also head over to Movie Buzzers to read more of my coverage of the film’s 2011 New York Film Festival premiere on October 9th!
I recently posted (here) about Michelle Williams‘ upcoming role as Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn, where she plays the troubled sex symbol during one week of filming The Prince & the Showgirl opposite Laurence Olivier in London in 1957. I’ve been following as much as I can about the film, which is set to premiere on November 4th. (P.S. My editorial on the classic romantic comedy is coming soon on Movie Buzzers!)
The October issue of Vogue showcases the two-time Academy Award nominee, recreates Marilyn’s bombshell & all-American style in a photo shoot by none other than photographer Anne Leibovitz. Michelle is decked out in gorgeous gowns with plunging necklines, decadent diamonds, & the flip side: classic trousers & sweater sets!
While some critics are skeptical about Michelle’s ability to capture the underestimated comedienne, this film is making its world premiere as a centerpiece selection at the New York Film Festival (see my Movie Buzzers article here).
For more news on Marilyn’s inspiring style, check out a previous post in Fashion Flashback to see Dior’s new commercial, starring Charlize Theron, but thanks to technology, we get to see the ill-fated actress exclaim over the J’adore fragrance with fellow style icons, Marlene Dietrich & Grace Kelly. Hmmm… so many blondes! What’s a brunette to do?
What do you think of Michelle’s transformation? Would you have picked someone different to fill in the infamous heels of the blonde legend? Are you going to see this movie? Who’s your favorite Old Hollywood style icon? Happy Styling!
I had to do a double take when I saw the new commercial for Dior’s J’adore campaign, starring the very beautiful Charlize Theron. She’s been the spokesmodel for the fragrance for a while now, so it was no surprise to see her at the center of the commercial / short film’s action. What got me wanting to post about this on Style Darling is the fact that screen legends Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, & Marlene Dietrich appear in the commercial as well.
Marilyn & Grace (yes I’m on a first name basis with them lol) have previously appeared in some form in my Fashion Flashback category, however I can’t help but love that this 1:31 commercial fuses the sirens of the past so naturally with the glamour behind the Dior brand. Surely, Charlize ranks up there as one of the most gorgeous & accomplished actresses of today. Here, the house of Dior celebrates the history of fabulous icons of style.
Take a look at the commercial below to see what all the fuss is about. If you’re interested in buying the fragrance, take a click on over to Ulta, where you can buy a 1.0 oz. bottle for $60.00, 1.7 oz. for $77.00, or 3.4 oz. for $90.00. Remember, if you’re an Ulta shopper & have a rewards club card, you can earn points to qualify for free gifts like cosmetics, more fragrances, or a salon treatment! Making the investment in a timeless perfume will pay off in the future too!
So it’s time for another look at the forever fabulous Marilyn Monroe in a black & white look, perfect for a cool spring day. During one of the actresses most stylish photo shoots, famed photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt was able to capture several gorgeous images of the Hollywood siren in 1953, fact courtesy of Immortal Marilyn. What people don’t know about the Gentleman Prefer Blondes star is that her off-camera style was very minimalist, wearing lots of neutral colors, especially white to show off her creamy skin & platinum blonde locks. With a little mascara, a swipe of black eyeliner, & an even skintone, the actress, is simply dressed in a 3/4 sleeve turtleneck & cropped white pants.
We see this look emulated by Gwen Stefani in her music video for “Cool,” where she pays homage to Monroe with bouncy blond curls & many other looks. Check back soon for more updates to Fashion Flashback. Who would you like to see featured next? Happy Styling!
I recently scored a 2011 Marilyn Monroe calendar photographed by Sam Shaw for only about $4. I do already own another one, which I’ve yet to put up since I have a Barbie calendar currently hanging on my wall. As a big fan of Marilyn’s, I love finding modern-day pieces that really emulate her sexy elegance, while also staying true to my style-on-a-budget philosophy. Her casual private style was very Americana in white button down shirts & eyelet summer dresses. Here however, I’ve found an image that’s probably from one of her films, but I don’t know which. When I find out, I will certainly revise this blog b/c I love to be precise.
Take a look at this really gorgeous floral print pencil dress (yes it’s hardly visible, but it must chic since she’s wearing it!) with a white knee-length coat & classic round toe pumps. Now that spring fashion has arrived & that little groundhog told us that spring is just around the corner, let’s hope that we can break out the lighter fashions sooner rather than later. Also, I’m reminded of this demure Oscar de la Renta dress worn by Eva Mendes from back in August. Also we see Eva channels this very sophisticated silhouette back in September 2008 in Bill Blass for the premiere of The Women.
This is a luxurious combination of items that could work in a really fabulous way right now! Check out the earrings, which are only $1.50 (also available in mint & pink) @Forever21!
If you’re a fan of these vintage looks & of Marilyn’s, check out my previous Fashion Flashback posts too! Happy Styling!
Since I’ve recently finished reading Blonde: A Novel by Joyce Carol Oates, Marilyn Monroe has been on my mind. Not only am I intrigued by her iconic status as a movie star, but also how influential her style still is today. Young starlets today continue to channel Marilyn’s curly blonde locks & sexy pin-up silhouettes on the red carpet. As Marilyn’s life was riddled with personal demons & rocky relationships, her life was tragically cut short & Hollywood lost one of its shining stars. We have preserved images of the forever-young beauty to inspire us for evening looks, weekends in the country, & daytime. Marilyn’s richly porcelain skin glistened against sexy whites & rich creams. Her voluptuous curves screamed sex appeal & lush femininity in sweetheart necklines & pencil dresses. Her blend of All-American & sultry radiated in dark denim & belted outfits with heels. Here’s an effortless three-piece look that the misunderstood comedienne pulls off in true Hollywood style:
While this is a black & white image, here’s something understated that I found to represent Marilyn’s minimal off-camera style: