HomeCanadaHow costumes helped Ana de Armas transform into Marilyn ocn News,
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How costumes helped Ana de Armas transform into Marilyn ocn News,

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How costumes helped Ana de Armas transform into Marilyn

The sprawling biopic “Blonde” covers the life and trajectory of the indelible Marilyn Monroe. Ana de Armas stars as the titular icon and she delivers a richly realized deep dive into the inner life of Norma Jean, the daddyless baby girl whose mom was “engaged” and turned into a shooting starlet to end up collateral damage. tragedy of the Hollywood star machine.

The Netflix movie debuts in theaters on September 23 before hitting the streaming service on September 28. Directed by Andrew Dominik, the film is long and heavy on both fine art cinematography techniques and Freudian analysis. But de Armas’ transformation into an icon is awe-inspiring and her clothes are fantastic, their symbolism subtle and nuanced – no small feat considering Marilyn’s wardrobe was such an integral part of her legend.

“It was an extremely daunting challenge to embark on this film knowing that Marilyn belongs to all of us and that most of us around the world know her image,” says ‘Blonde’ costume designer Jennifer Johnson, whose resume includes “I, Tonya.” She says the film was built around Dominik’s “bible”, an 800-page PDF document of footage he accumulated over 12 years. “These images became the starting point for all of us,” Johnson says.

Norma Jean is the living, breathing, wounded three-dimensional heroine of this film; Marilyn is the studio construct she calls to transform into the two-dimensional ideal that audiences still project onto today.

Johnson’s team recreated a number of Marilyn’s dresses from her movies from scratch, “to do it right, to honor those original designers and get all the exact details, and also to allow us to make some great ‘Ana de Armas our Marilyn’.

Ana de Armas wears a recreation of the white dress that Marilyn Monroe wore "The Seven Year Itch" in "Blond."

But it’s her off-duty clothes that turn Johnson on, because they tell the inside story. For Johnson, the most “iconic” look is the slim black turtleneck cropped trousers. “It grew out of her move to New York and her work with the Actors Studio, and her development as a person, as an actress who wanted to leave the sexual pin-up image behind and wanted be taken seriously,” she said. said.

Johnson stuck to a “very controlled” palette of white, black, pink and baby blue. White is a color that Marilyn has often been shown in – imagine the dresses in “Some Like It Hot” and “The Seven Year Itch”. “Marilyn Monroe was a construct of the studio system, an artificial creation of innocence,” Johnson explains. “Furthermore, the pale colors and use of white not only reflect her minimalist closet in real life, but also allow the viewer to get inside her head without competing distractions.”

The unforgettable pink dress and the gloves of "Men prefer blondes."

As for pink, the first image that comes to mind is of Marilyn singing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”. The strapless dress, the gloves are engraved in our collective consciousness. “Pink is always hyper-feminine,” says Johnson. “It’s fetishistic, the idea that the studio has of Marilyn. She’s a bit like a cake, you can eat her… I think the male gaze objectifies her as something that could be devoured.

In a blissful moment on her honeymoon with playwright Arthur Miller, Marilyn wears a few softer, more whimsical pieces in baby blue. “She’s less aware of how the public sees her,” says Johnson. “There’s a softness to her, it’s less sharp.”

A powerful outfit in the film, this dress of roses with thorns is used to figuratively represent a climactic moment with Arthur Miller on a beach.

In my opinion, the most powerful outfit in the film is a dress of roses with thorns worn during a climactic moment with Miller on a beach. Marilyn is at her happiest; she mistrusts this happiness; the dream is shattered by (spoiler alert) a miscarriage. The loss is depicted figuratively – it is as if she pricked her finger on a thorn in the fabric and the blood quickly spilled over her dress.

I ask Johnson about the cut of de Armas’ clothes, which are perfect at the moment as opposed to the too tight dresses that Marilyn wore towards the end. “It’s intentional, to give it a kind of nobility. The movie is tough, it covers a lot of hardcore stuff. We didn’t feel (a tight fit) was necessary; it has already been tested.

It also helped de Armas fully inhabit the character. “It was extremely important to me that Ana felt like she wasn’t wearing a costume,” Johnson says. “I wanted to transform her in a way that felt effortless and allowed for movement.”

A smart decision helped de Armas embody those unforgettable curves. “Instead of padding Ana with extra hips or buttocks, which would have been excessively hot with her wig and the Los Angeles sun, my seamstress Lydia had a brilliant idea to make a tight elastic waistband an inch and a half that we placed around her bare upper waist every day,” Johnson explains. “This little tweak changed Ana’s own proportions to make her feel a little more punch in her curves!”

We could all use a little of Marilyn’s va-va-voom. But Johnson pays equal attention to the sensitive and serious side of the star, which Marilyn herself fought for to the end.

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