When her career took off, Marilyn passed on the Hollywood party circuit. She enrolled for night classes at UCLA. A voracious reader, she left behind a 400 book library of titles by the likes of John Milton, Albert Einstein and Fyodor Dostoevsky.
She wrote too, elegant poems, trenchant observations and poignant memoirs, in which she confided ‘there were days or weeks when I wanted only occasional company to bury myself in reading’.
Marilyn’s intelligence shows through in the pictures that George Barris took at the beach in 1962. One shows her wearing only a well-worn masculine Norwegian cardigan. She pulls it tightly round her as she splashes in the ocean, head thrown back in laughter, hair windswept. Another shows her on the sand, swaddled in a much washed camel blanket.
Max Mara Fall-Winter 2015/2016 imagines a wardrobe as light and soft as that blanket, as comforting and familiar as that cardigan. The collection’s signature coats are worn seductively with the allure of luxurious beach wraps.
Bomber jackets, overcoats, peacoats, duffels, sweatshirts; Marilyn’s “me time” menswear classics are reinvented in camel hair, cashmere, alpaca and quilted silk. So too are her signature slip dresses, bustiers and pencil skirts. Silhouettes are shrunken or ma-xi-sized.
Camel, sand, casha, ivory; luminous colours which recall that famous shoot on the beach. Sun bleached, powdery pinks, yellows, greens and blues for feather-light cashmere knits, fleecy tweeds, flocculent alpacas and mink which sometimes peeps from the hem of a coat.
The Hollywood bag in sleek pony or calfskin with its elegant signature clasp gives discrete glamour – the newest version is worn like a backpack.
‘Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.’ Marilyn famously joked, so naturally there are high heeled pumps in ponyskin and glitter. But there are also bookish tassel loafers. Marilyn in ponyskin loafers and pastel reading glasses; a vision which is brainy, sexy and modern.
Photos courtesy of Max Mara