Covered Up in Pink

“Apart from the two side seams the dress was folded into shape rather like cardboard. Any other girl would have looked like she was wearing cardboard, but on-screen I swear you would have thought Marilyn had on a pale, thin piece of silk. Her body was so fabulous it still came through.”

William Travilla

 
 

Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend number, from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Howard Hawks, 1953)

 
 

This wasn’t the dress designed for this scene. William Travilla had designed a breathtaking show girl costume with jewels sewn onto a black fish-net body stocking up to the breasts, then covered in nude fabric, embellished with a mass of diamonds, costing close to $4,000. It never got past the cutting room floor. It was rejected because it came out that Marilyn has posed nude for a calendar back in 1949 (the infamous Golden Dreams photographed by Tom Kelley), when Marilyn was desperate for money. And instead of riding on the revelation, Travilla was given strict instructions to cover Marilyn up.

 
 

 
 

It was rejected because it came out that Marilyn has posed nude for a calendar back in 1949 (the infamous Golden Dreams photographed by Tom Kelley), when Marilyn was desperate for money. And instead of riding on the revelation, Travilla was given strict instructions to cover Marilyn up.

 
 

 
 

The original concept for the new dress included black gloves and shoes, and no one is sure why they became pink, but Travilla redid his sketch to show pink gloves. When people see the actual dress they often remark that in real life is lighter than it appears in the movie. That is easily explained by the use of glorious Technicolor according to Travilla himself, not only did he have to design the dress, but he had to make sure he got the fabric right, as Technicolor would make it appear more vibrant on film.

This dress was made out of peau d’ange, a sort of silk satin. The aim was to show the outline of the body, but for the dress to move with the body and not crease – which was rather difficult when Marilyn was moving up and down the stairs. Eventually the silk satin was glued onto felt, with a black lining added to the back, to give it a stiffness.

 
 

Marilyn Monroe’s rendition of the song Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend and her pink dress are considered iconic, and the performance has inspired homages by Madonna (Material Girl music video) , Geri Halliwell, Kylie Minogue,  Anna Nicole Smith, Christina Aguilera, and James Franco (Oscar 2011).

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Transformed into a Goddess

Cover art for Kylie Minogue’s Aphrodite (2010). Photograph by William Baker (British fashion designer, stylist, and author and theatre director).

 
 

Outtake for the cover art. The ultimate artwork of the album captures Minogue “transformed into a goddess”

 
 

 
 

The dark blue, metal-adorned, silk muslin gown Minogue wears on the cover of the album was designed by French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier. It was taken from his Spring-Summer 2010 Haute Couture collection. Gaultier had previously designed the costumes for Minogue’s KylieX2008 and For You, For Me tours

 
 

To promote Aphrodite, Minogue embarked on the Aphrodite: Les Folies Tour, beginning in early 2011. The tour was staged by the creative team behind Disneyland Resort’s World of Color show, and the budget of the tour was reported to be around $25 million. Concert shows were held at Europe, North America, Asia, Australia and Africa. Minogue’s costumes and wardrobe was designed by her frequent collaborators Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, owners of the Italian luxury industry fashion house Dolce and Gabbana. The concert shows were spectacles “loosely based around Greek mythology”

Aphrodite and All the Lovers

“No form of love is wrong, so long as it is love, and you yourself honour what you are doing. Love has an extraordinary variety of forms! And that is all there is in life, it seems to me. But I grant you, if you deny the variety of love you deny love altogether. If you try to specialize love into one set of accepted feelings, you wound the very soul of love. Love must be multi-form, else it is just tyranny, just death”

D.H. Lawrence

 
 

Still from the music video showing Kylie Minogue standing atop a pyramid of underwear-clad couples, which was inspired by the installations of American photographer Spencer Tunick.

 
 

All the Lovers is a song recorded by Australian recording artist Kylie Minogue for her eleventh studio album Aphrodite (2010). One of the last songs to be recorded for the album, All the Lovers was written by Jim Eliot and Mima Stilwell and produced by the former. Stuart Price, the executive producer of Aphrodite, was responsible for additional production and mixing of the song. Minogue felt  All the Lovers summarized the “euphoria” of the album perfectly and chose it to be the lead single from Aphrodite.

 
 

 
 

An accompanying music video for “All the Lovers” was filmed in Downtown Los Angeles by Joseph Kahn, and features Minogue singing the song from atop a pyramid of underwear-clad couples. As the singer wanted to pay homage to her large gay audience, scenes of homosexual couples kissing were included in the video. Critical reception towards the video was favourable, with many critics enjoying its concept and imagery.

 
 

A QR code, said to produce the word “LOVE” when scanned, can be seen printed on various items in the beginning of the music video.

 
 

Writing for New York Press, film and music critic Armond White deeply analysed the music video and found the flash mob, which consists of a few homosexual couples, a representation of the historic 1969 Stonewall riots, a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community against a police raid that took place at the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. He also compared the video to two documentaries based on the riots. White commented that through the video, Kahn had corrected directors Kate Davis and David Heilbroner‘s “blundering” in their 2010 documentary of the riots. The critic said that Davis and Heilbroner had misinterpreted the riots and that Kahn and Minogue had offered a more accurate version which was similar to the concept of the 1995 historical comedy-drama film based on the uprising. He commented that the flash mob Minogue organises is “not a riot, not an orgy” and instead “an uprising as the swaying lovers amass and their joy takes them literally higher and higher.” He then concluded of the video:

Kahn’s gleaming fantasy of paradisical urban cleanliness is a creative act that idealizes an historical fact. Like Spencer Tunick, who photographs mass public undressings, Kahn and Kylie emcee a multiracial party; as critic John Demetry points out, restricting participants to the young, pretty, physically fit is part of their idealization. Importantly, Kahn and Kylie serenade their partiers by the Stonewall-era term “lovers” (out-moded by today’s “partner”). Stonewall Uprising is a whitewash; this is a resurrection of affection. Rainbow Pride expressed as Kylie’s bliss” [sic]

On 22 June 2010, American pop group Scissor Sisters performed a country-inspired version of  All the Lovers on the Live Lounge segment of the British radio station BBC Radio 1.  The group performed this version of the song for the second time at the annual Australian music festival Splendour in the Grass in Melbourne, which is Minogue’s birthplace. She joined the group during the performance.