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  • Vogue: Christian Allaire

Blonde’s Costume Design Shows a Different Side to Marilyn Monroe

Since the film aims to draw a clear line between Marilyn—the vampy, studio-manufactured bombshell—and Norma—a smart, sensitive artist—Johnson had to first establish how the two identities would differ fashion-wise.

Photo; Courtesy of Netflix

For her scenes as Norma, Johnson wanted a pared-back approach for de Armas. “Norma Jeane was quite a minimalist,” says Johnson.


Special details that you may not even notice in the film were also important to Johnson and the costume team. One of her favorite dresses in the film, for instance, is a re-creation of a Some Like It Hot dress designed by Orry-Kelly that Monroe wears to sing with a live band. “In my research, we found that Kelly designed a see-through heart lined with rhinestones on her left ass cheek,” says Johnson. “You don’t see it in the movie, but I really tried to give Ana little presents that helped her get into character.” Even the shoes were well thought-out. Johnson worked with a cobbler at Western Costume to deconstruct and customize heels, making them feel more appropriate for the 1950s. “Manolo Blahniks were the shoes that fit well, but it was well outside our budget, so I went on The RealReal,” says Johnson. “He would rip the whole thing apart until he just had the skeleton of the shoe, then custom dye the leather and rewrap the heel.”


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